TONIGHT ON METROFOCUS

Tomorrow marks the 42nd anniversary of the arrest of David Berkowitz, the serial killer that terrorized New York City the summer of 1977. Tonight we take a deep look back at the “Summer of Sam.” Award-winning journalist Geraldo Rivera takes us down the gritty streets of New York City in search of a serial killer. Retired NYPD detective Bill Clark was assigned to the team investigating the murders. He brings us inside the case. Carl Denaro, one of David Berkowitz’s victims, recalls the night he was shot. Legendary PIX-11 reporter Marvin Scott recalls the vibe that permeated every newsroom in New York at the time.

Aired on August 9, 2019.

TRANSCRIPT

Announcer: THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISH, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALLER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- CORPORATE FUNDING FOR 'METROFOCUS' WAS PROVIDED BY MUTUAL OF AMERICA, YOUR RETIREMENT COMPANY.

AND BY PSE&G, SERVING CUSTOMERS, STRENGTHENING THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, AND INVESTING IN THE FUTURE.

> WHAT WILL YOU HAVE FOR JULY 29th, HE WONDERED IN ONE OF HIS SICK AND THREATENING LETTERS TO THE PRESS AND POLICE.

SAM'S A THIRSTY LAD, AND HE WON'T LET ME STOP KILLING UNTIL HE'S HAD HIS FILL OF BLOOD.

GOOD EVENING, AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JENNA FLANAGAN.

IN AUGUST, 1977, KILLER DAVID BERKOWITZ, OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SON OF SAM, WAS CAPTURED AFTER A MURDER SPREE THAT CLAIMED THE LIVES OF FIVE YOUNG WOMEN, ONE MAN, AND TERRIFIED THOSE THROUGHOUT THE CITY.

HE FREQUENTED LOVERS LANES, AND HIS CALLING CARD, A .44 CALIBER REVOLVER.

WE'LL HEAR FROM PEOPLE CLOSE TO THE CASE.

FROM A VICTIM WHO SURVIVED A BULLET TO THE HEAD, THE POLICE WHO CAUGHT THE KILLER, AND THE MEDIA WHAT KEPT US ON THE EDGE OF OUR SEEATS.

GERALDO RIVERA WAS THE FIRST TO OBTAIN LETTERS FROM PRISON PENNED BY THE MURDERER HIMSELF AND ASKED HIM ABOUT THE IMPACT THAT THESE KILLINGS HAD ON THE CITY'S PSYCHE.

I THINK YOU FIRST HAVE TO START WITH WHAT NEW YORK CITY WAS IN 1977.

IT WAS A DYSTOPIAN KIND OF GOTHAM CITY.

THERE WAS GRAFFITI EVERYWHERE, FILTH.

THE HEROIN EPIDEMIC WAS IN FULL BLOOM.

THE CITY WAS BEING DEPOPULATED.

IT WAS TOTALLY DYSFUNCTIONAL.

THAT WAS THE SUMMER WHEN THE LIGHT WENT OUT.

A LIGHTNING STRIKE I THINK IT WAS, TOOK ALL THE LIGHT OUT.

IT WAS -- IF YOU WERE IN A MIDTOWN FANCY HOTEL, THEY LIT CANDLES AND IT WAS A PARTY, I THINK THERE WAS A BIG PREGNANCY BOOM, YOU KNOW, LOT OF BABIES BEING BORN NINE MONTHS FROM THAT BLACKOUT.

BUT I HAPPENED TO BE IN THE VICINITIES WITH MY FRIEND FROM CHC CHEECH MARIN, AND SAID ABC ASSIGNED ME TO INVESTIGATE THE LOOTING GOING ON IN MANHATTAN.

WE WENT TO THE SOUTH BRONX.

I DRAGGED CHEECH AND MY CREW UP THERE.

THERE WERE LOOTERS EVERYWHERE.

THE SOUTH BRONX, BROOKLYN, A LOT OF THE POORER NEIGHBORHOODS WERE ABSOLUTELY BEING RAVAGED BY THE LOOTERS.

YOU KNOW, DAY CAME, THE CITY WAS WRECKED.

I THINK THAT OUR CONFIDENCE WAS ALSO DESTROYED.

SO WE WERE VERY MUCH IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SON OF SAM KILLINGS, WE WERE VERY MUCH DEALING WITH A DYSFUNCTIONAL CITY GOVERNMENT AID BEING THE MAYOR.

THE COPS HAD -- THEY WERE ABSOLUTELY OVERWHELMED BY THE CRIME, THE RAMPANT CRIME.

AND IN THE MIDST OF IT, YOU HAVE THIS ASSASSIN OR ASSASSINS GOING AROUND, YOU KNOW, MURDERING THESE YOUNG WOMEN AND THEIR CON SORTS, MURDERING OUR WOUNDING.

AND IT BECAME A STORY OF NEW YORK TERRORIZED.

I THINK YET THAT THAT WAS THE LOW POINT IN NEW YORK'S MODERN HISTORY.

YOU ARE A REPORTER WHO DURING THIS TIME EARLY IN YOUR CAREER, HOW DID YOU VIEW THIS STORY?

WELL, YOU KNOW, FIRST OF ALL, IT WAS THE FIRST IN THE NEW YORK EXPERIENCE, THE FIRST TIME THERE WAS EVER AN INTERACTIVE MURDERER, SERIAL MURDERER.

HE WOULD BOAST, HE WOULD INTERACT WITH JIMMY BRESLIN, THE TERRIFIC REPORTER.

YOU KNOW, OTHERS.

MAINLY BRESLIN, BUT PETE HAMILL, OTHERS GOT A PIECE OF THAT ACTION.

YOU KNOW, HE WOULD TAUNT THE COPS, TAUNT THE VICTIMS.

YOU KNOW, RAMBLE ON ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE SON OF SAM.

SO I WAS A YOUNG REPORTER.

I JUST GRADUATED.

I HAD -- I WAS AN EYEWITNESS NEWSMAN FIRST.

THEN I HAD MY NATIONAL PROGRAM 'GOOD NIGHT AMERICA.'

THEN THE CREATOR OF ABC NEWS AND SPORTS AS WE KNOW IT RECRUITED ME TO BE A NATIONAL NEWSMAN, AND THIS WAS REALLY MY FIRST BIG -- MY FIRST BIG NATIONAL STORY.

BARBARA WALTERS WAS THE FIRST -- ANOINTED THE FIRST FEMALE ANCHOR.

SHE WAS KIND OF CHEERING ME ON.

A FRIEND AFTER MINE FOR ALL THESE DECADES.

BUT IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO UNDERSTATE HOW TERRORIZED NEW YORK WAS.

LOTS OF PEOPLE WERE CANCELING SOCIAL ENGAGEMENTS, THEY WERE STAYING HOME.

THEY WERE LIVING IN FEAR.

THEIR CHILDREN WERE NOT ALLOWED TO WALK TO SCHOOL OR WALK HOME.

THE LOVERS LANES WERE BEING ABANDONED BY, YOU KNOW, YOUNG PEOPLE EVEN IN THAT HOT, HUMID, STICKY, DYSFUNCTIONAL SUMMER.

IT REALLY WAS A CITY UNDER SIEGE IN EVERY WAY.

AND IT WAS LIKE THE JOKER IN 'BATMAN' TAUNTING EVERYBODY.

AS YOU KNOW, DURING THAT TIME THERE WERE SUGGESTIONS BEING MADE -- AND OFTENTIMES THE MEDIA BECOMES THE TARGET OF CRITICISM -- BUT THERE WERE SUGGESTIONS THAT MEDIA WAS FANNING THE FLAMES OF HYSTERIA HERE.

WAS THAT AN ACCURATE CRITICISM DO YOU THINK?

YOU KNOW, THAT'S ALWAYS -- THAT'S ALWAYS THE BEEF, THAT THE STORY IS, YOU KNOW, REPORTING OF THE STORY IS LEADING THE STORY.

I DON'T -- I DON'T REALLY PUT MUCH EMOTIONAL INVESTMENT IN THAT DEBATE.

THERE WAS NO DOUBT BUT THAT THE MEDIA WAS OBSESSED WITH THE STORY, BUT THE REASON WAS THE AUDIENCE, THE NEWS CONSUMERS WERE OBSESSED WITH THE STORY.

THE TAP LLOYDS, THE 'POST' -- TABLOIDS, THE 'POST,' AND THE 'DAILY NEWS,' CIRCULATION SHOT UP BY THE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS.

LOCAL POLICE BECAME ANOTHER OBSESSION.

PEOPLE FOLLOWING EVERY WRINKLE, EVERY DEVELOPMENT.

AND WHENEVER THERE WAS ANOTHER, YET ANOTHER MURDER, I MEAN, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO OVERSTATE HOW PEOPLE FELT.

IF YOU WERE THE PARENTS OF TEENAGERS OR IF YOU WERE A KID YOURSELF, YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS NO CIRCUMSCRIBED.

YOU WALKED, YOU KNOW, YOU TRIED TO WALK FROM STREET LIGHT TO STREET LIGHT, ALWAYS WITH A BUDDY SYSTEM.

IT WAS -- THERE WAS NO TRUST AT ALL OF THE COPS, CERTAINLY NOT OF THE MAYOR AND THE CITY GOVERNMENT.

THEY SEEMED UNABLE TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS.

AND THE MEDIA, YES, THE MEDIA WAS PLAYING THE STORY OF HUGE WITH BANNER HEADLINES, BUT MY GOODNESS, IF EVER THERE WAS A STORY THAT DESERVED THEM, I THINK IT WAS THE SON OF SAM.

WHY DO YOU THINK -- LAST QUESTION HERE -- AS I SAID, YOU COVERED THIS STORY FROM THE BEGINNING, YOU GOT ACCESS TO LETTERS PENNED BY DAVID BERKOWITZ COMING OUT OF THE PRISONS.

HERE WE ARE ALL THESE YEARS LATER, WHY DO YOU THINK THERE'S STILL SUCH A FASCINATION WITH DAVID BERKOWITZ HIMSELF AND WHAT HE DID?

THAT'S A GREAT QUESTION.

I THINK FIRST OF ALL THE DAY BEFORE BERKOWITZ WAS CAUGHT WAS THE LOWEST POINT IN MODERN HISTORY.

THE DAY HE WAS CAUGHT, THERE WAS A TREMENDOUS SIGH, A RELEASE.

WE EMBRACED THE COPS AGAIN.

WE FELT CIVILIZATION HAD PREVAILED.

AND THEN YOU KNOW, A COUPLE MONTHS LATER, THE YANKEES WON THE WORLD SERIES, AS I RECALL.

REGGIE JACKSON, MR. OCTOBER, HITTING FIVE, EIGHT HOME RUNS, I FORGET HOW MANY, AS THE YANKEES WON THE 1977 WORLD SERIES.

THE CITY RECOVERED.

ED KOCH BECAME THE MAYOR.

HOW AM I DOING, HOW AM I DOING?

THE CITY HIT ROCK BOTTOM, AND THEN BOUNCED BACK.

IN TERMS OF THE FASCINATION, WAS HE A LONE ASSASSIN, WAS HE PART OF A SATANIC CULT, YOU KNOW, THERE WERE SO MANY MANY OTHER WRINKLES THAT HISTORY, HISTORIANS TOOK OVER.

BUT IT IS SOMETHING -- IT IS VIVIDLY IMPLANTED IN MY HEART AND MY SOUL AS A NATIVE-BORN NEW YORKER, IT IS SOMETHING THAT IS PART AND PARCEL OF THE VERY FABRIC OF THE CITY AT THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE ITSELF.

IT WAS A FASCINATING TIME FOR SO MANY REASONS, AND GERALDO, IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK TO YOU.

WE APPRECIATE YOU SPENDING TIME WITH US AND SHARING SOME OF YOUR RECOLLECTIONS.

YOU BE WELL.

OKAY, YOU, TOO, BUDDY.

> IT WAS A QUIRK OF FATE AND GOOD LUCK THAT DAVID BERKOWITZ, THEN A 24-YEAR-OLD POSTAL WORKER LIVING IN YONKERS, WAS ARRESTED ON AUGUST 10th, 1977.

BILL CLARK IS A FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE WHO WORKED THE CASE.

HE'S HERE TO TAKE US INSIDE THE TERROR AND TAKEDOWN OF ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST NOTORIOUS KILLERS.

BILL, WELCOME TO YOU.

LET ME START OFF BY ASKING YOU THIS -- WHAT WAS IT, DO YOU REMEMBER THE MOMENT WHEN THE DEPARTMENT AND THE FOLKS THAT WERE ON THIS CASE FIRST REALIZED THIS MIGHT NOT BE A SINGLE INCIDENT, WE MIGHT, INDEED, HAVE A SERIAL KILLER ON OUR HANDS?

I THINK THE THING THAT NAILED IT WAS THE LETTER TO BRESLIN.

BEFORE THAT, IT WAS A RESOLVER SO THERE WERE NO SHELLS, BUT THERE WAS THE BULLETS THAT WERE IN THE -- YOU KNOW, .44 CALIBER.

AND IT WAS IDENTIFIED PROBABLY ABOUT THREE INCIDENTS , IT WAS WROTE THE LETTER.

DESCRIBE HOW THE PUBLIC WAS REACTING TO THESE SERIES OF KILLINGS, ESPECIALLY WHEN IT BECAME KNOWN THAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT A SERIAL KILLER.

I THINK THE THING THAT MADE HIM DIFFERENT -- I WORKED THE INDIVIDUALS, OTHER KILLERS THAT WERE SERIAL KILLERS, BUT THEY ALWAYS WERE TARGETING OTHER DRUG DEALERS OR PEOPLE WHO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY BASED ON THEIR BEHAVIOR.

THESE WERE TOTALLY INNOCENT VICTIMS WHO DID NOTHING TO PUT THEMSELVES IN HARM'S WAY, THEY'RE SITTING ON THE STOOP, THEY'RE SITTING IN A CAR, THEY'RE KISSING THEIR BOYFRIEND.

SO IT REALLY HAD EVERYBODY IN PANIC.

PEOPLE WERE AFRAID TO GO OUT AT NIGHT.

YOUNG WOMEN WERE AFRAID.

IT REALLY HADHECIFULL-BLOWN PAN.

AND I DON'T THINK ANYBODY BEFORE OR AFTER THAT HAS EVER -- IT'S AFFECTED PEOPLE IN THAT REGARD.

SO YOU GET THE STRING OF EVENTS, A SUMMONS ISSUED FOR A PARKING VIOLATION.

A PERSON ON THE PHONE SAYS 'I KNOW THIS GUY, HE'S CRAZY, SHOT MY FATHER'S DOG.'

YOU GET OUT TO HIS HOUSE, THERE'S SOMEBODY WHO ALSO SAYS 'I KNOW THIS GUY, HE'S CRAZY.'

NOW THE NAMES ARE THE SAME NAMES THAT ARE SHOWING UP IN THE INFORMATION THAT'S BEING LEFT BY THE SON OF SAM.

SO DAVID BERKOWITZ WALKS OUT AND LITERALLY HAS A BAG WITH THE RESOLVER AND SAYS 'I GIVE UP, I'M THE GUY'?

THAT'S CLOSE, NO.

WHAT HAPPENED WAS WHEN THEY WERE SET UP ON THE CAR A DISTANCE AWAY WATCHING IT TO SEE IF HE'D COME OUT --

RIGHT.

-- BECAUSE THEY WERE GOING TO GET -- ONE GUY WENT TO GET A SEARCH WARRANT FOR THE CAR TO SEARCH IT.

AND THIS GUY, CRAIG, CAME WALKED UP IN THE CAR, THEY JUMPED HIM.

HE SAID, YOU KNOW -- THEY THOUGHT HE MIGHT HAVE BEEN THE OWNER OF THE CAR.

HE SAID, NO, I SAW SOME GUYS WALKING AROUND.

I WONDERED WHY -- BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

HE TOLD THEM THAT.

THEY ALL INCLUDING CRAIG SAT A DISTANCE AWAY WATCHING THE CAR.

BERKOWITZ COME OUT TO GET IN THE CAR, AND THEN WHEN THEY GRABBED HIM, THAT'S WHEN HE SAID, 'YES, I'M THE SON OF SAM.'

IS IT A REASONABLE ASSUMPTION, BILL, TO SAY HE WAS ABOUT TO GET IN HIS CAR WITH THE GUN IN THE BAG, THAT IT MAY WELL HAVE STOPPED ANOTHER HOMICIDE FROM TAKING PLACE?

THERE'S NO QUESTION ABOUT IT.

HE ACTUALLY HAD A RIFLE IN THE BACK OF THE CAR.

AND THE LETTER WAS TO THE SUFFOLK POLICE DEPARTMENT SAYING HE WAS GOING TO GO INTO THE OAK BEACH INN, NIGHTCLUB, AND GO OUT IN A BLAZE OF GLORY, SHOOTING UP AS MANY PEOPLE AS HE COULD AND PROBABLY DYING.

THAT'S WHAT HE HAD SAID.

TELL US ABOUT DAVID BERKOWITZ.

WHAT WAS HE LIKE?

WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT ALL OF THIS WHEN HE GETS ARRESTED?

WELL, I WAS LUCKY ENOUGH TO GET ALONG WITH HIM IN A -- GET ALONE WITH HIM IN A ROOM FOR ABOUT A HALF HOUR.

AND HE TOLD ME ABOUT EVERY INCIDENT AND WHY HE DID IT AND WHAT STARTED IT AND -- AND HOW HE FELT.

HE WAS TALKING VERY RELAXED.

I MEAN, THIS WAS SOMETHING THAT HE HAD BEEN LIVING THROUGH.

AND YOU KNOW, HE WAS KIND OF LOVING THE GLORY BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY HE LEFT THE LETTERS THERE BECAUSE HE WANTED PUBLICITY.

HE WANTED TO BE THIS KIND OF GUY.

IF YOU SEE THE PICTURES OF HIM GETTING TAKEN OUT OF THE STATION HOUSE AND EVERYTHING, HE'S -- HE LOVES IT.

I ALWAYS THOUGHT BECAUSE I HAD TO DEAL WITH THE VICTIMS OF THESE CRIMES AND THEIR FAMILIES, IT WAS -- IF I EVER GOT IN A ROOM WITH THIS GUY, I WOULD RIP HIS HEART OUT OF HIS CHEST.

WHEN I SAT DOWN WITH HIM AND HE STARTED TALKING, YOU REALIZED HE WAS JUST REALLY CRAZY, YOU KNOW.

AND I COULDN'T GET MAD.

I JUST COULDN'T -- AS MUCH AS I HATED WHAT HE'D DONE.

YOU SAID HE TALKED TO YOU ABOUT EACH OF THEM AND YOU SAID HE TALKED ABOUT WHY.

WHAT DID HE SAY ABOUT WHY HE WAS DOING THIS?

HE HAD SHOT AND HE THOUGHT KILLED SAM CARR'S DOG.

THEN A COUPLE DAYS LATER, SAM CARR AFTER THE VET TREATS THE DOG, HE PUTS IT BACK IN THE YARD, IT'S BARKING AGAIN.

IN HIS SICK MIND HE STARTS UNDERSTANDING THAT THIS DOG IS TALKING TO HIM FOR THE OWNER, SAM, AND HE'S A 6,000-YEAR-OLD BEING AND CRYING FOR BLOOD.

BUT THE ONE THING AND WHY HE'S IN JAIL FOR REST OF HIS LIFE IS BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH HE'S CRAZY, HE KNEW WHAT HE WAS DOING WAS WRONG.

AND THAT -- THAT WAS A LESSON I LEARNED THROUGH THAT CASE.

HE WAS NOT -- YOU AND I KNOW THE DEFINITION OF CRIMINAL INSANITY, AND HE WAS NOT THERE.

YOU AND I WOULD LOOK AT ANYBODY WHO TOOK LIVES LIKE THAT AND SAY HE'S CRAZY, BUT HE WAS NOT CRIMINALLY INSANE.

THAT WOULD HAVE IN SOME WAYS RESULTED IN A NOT GUILTY BY REASON OF INSANITY DECISION FOR HIM, YES.

NO.

EXACTLY.

BUT THAT WAS A LESSON I LEARNED WITH THAT CASE BECAUSE WHEN I WALKED OUT OF THAT ROOM THAT NIGHT, I SAID, HE'S GOING TO MENTAL HOSPITAL.

I REALIZED LATER THAT -- NUMBER ONE, HE WAS PLEATING GUILTY.

HE -- WAS PLEADING GUILTY.

HE DIDN'T WANT A TRIAL.

FROM THE BEGINNING SHEHE SAI LET ME TELL YOU WHAT I DID, I WANT TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY?

YEAH -- IF ACCEPT THE RESPONSIBILITY WAS THE PROPER TERM.

BUT HE WAS -- HE WAS -- WANTED TO GET THE CREDIT FOR WHAT HE HAD DONE.

BILL CLARK, FORMER NYPD DETECTIVE.

A FASCINATING LOOK INSIDE THE DETAILS OF THE MURDER SPREE AND THE ARREST OF DAVID BERKOWITZ.

THANKS FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

WE REALLY APPRECIATE IT.

THANK YOU, SIR.

HAVE A GREAT DAY.

> WE TURN NOW TO THE HARROWING STORY OF A SURVIVOR, A MAN WHO AUTHORITIES SAY BACK IN 1976 TOOK A .44-CALIBER BULLET TO THE HEAD FROM THE SON OF SAM AND LIVED TO TELL WHAT HAPPENED.

DOCTORS WERE ABLE TO SAVE CARL DENARO BY INSULTING A METAL PLATE IN HIS SKULL.

THE STORY OF SURVIVAL IS PART OF THE SPECIAL 'SON OF SAM: THE HUNT FOR A KILLER.'

HERE'S A LOOK.

EVERYTHING CHANGED THAT NIGHT.

SO MUCH CHANGED THAT I WASN'T EVEN AWARE OF HALF THE CHANGES.

THERE WERE SO MANY THINGS THAT I WASN'T ABLE TO DO.

NOT DRIVE A CAR EVER AGAIN.

NOT PLAY SPORTS EVER AGAIN.

I COULD NEVER FORGIVE HIM FOR WHAT HE'S DONE.

THIS WAS, YOU KNOW, KIND OF A HORRENDOUS TIME FOR ALL OF US.

AND IT LEAVES AN IMPACT.

SOMETHING YOU DON'T FORGET.

DO I WANT TO FORGET IT?

I'M NOT SURE.

DO I WANT TO PUT IT BEHIND ME?

I'M NOT SURE.

BUT IT IS WHAT IT IS.

FOR MORE ON HIS STORY, MY CO-HOST, RAFAEL PI ROMAN, RECENTLY SPOKE WITH CARL DENARO AND STARTED OFF THE CONVERSATION BY ASKING WHAT HE REMEMBERS FROM THE NIGHT HE WAS SHOT.

THE NEXT THING YOU KNOW, IT SEEMED LIKE THE CAR EXPLODED.

GLASS SHARDS WERE ALL ON MY ARMS, MY HANDS.

YOU KNOW, BLOOD.

AT THE TIME, I DIDN'T KNEW I HAD A HEAD WOUND, BUT I KNEW WE WERE IN TROUBLE.

SO THE ATTACK ON YOU WAS THE SECOND ATTACK --

THE SECOND ATTACK --

-- BY THE SON OF SAM.

CLEARLY THE POLICE HAD NOT CONNECTED THE DOTS.

THERE WAS NO HINT THAT THERE WAS A SERIAL KILLER.

WHAT DID YOU THINK HAPPENED TO YOU, AND WHAT DID THE COPS THINK HAPPENED TO YOU?

I HAD NO IDEA.

I HAD NO ENEMIES, CERTAINLY NOT ENEMIES THAT WOULD SHOOT ME.

THE NEIGHBORHOOD WAS UPPER MIDDLE CLASS.

WE DIDN'T HAVE SHOOTINGS EVEN THOUGH NEW YORK AT THE TIME WAS A SCARY PLACE.

THAT WASN'T TRUE OF MY NEIGHBORHOOD.

THE FACT THAT I HAD LONG HAIR AND I SMOKED POT, HUNG OUT IN A B BAR, THE DETECTIVES ASSIGNED TO MY CASE THOUGHT IT WAS A DRUG DEAL GONE WRONG.

WHEN DID YOU FIND OUT THAT YOUR SHOOTING WAS PART OF THE SON OF SAM --

IT TOOK SIX MONTHS.

I LIVED FOR SIX MONTH OF BASICALLY DEFENDING MYSELF AGAINST MY FAMILY AND THE COPS THAT IT WASN'T A DRUG DEAL.

I BELIEVE IT WAS MARCH 10th -- THEI THERE WERE ARTICLES IN THE PAPER PRIOR TO MARCH 1 0th OF THERE MIGHT BE CONNECTION TO SOME SHOOTINGS.

FINALLY ON MARCH 10th, THEY HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE, MAYOR'S OFFICE AND NYPD, HAD A PRESS CONFERENCE SAYING --

THAT'S WHEN YOU KNEW?

YEAH.

THANKED ALL THE SUPPOSEDLY RAP DOMESTIC SHOOTINGS.

-- RANDOM SHOOTINGS.

WHY DO YOU THINK YOU WERE DEAD INSTEAD OF ROSEMARY?

THE BEST THEY'RE WE HAVE RIGHT NOW 40 YEARS LATER IS I WAS MISTAKEN FOR A WOMAN.

I MEAN, I HAD LONG HAIR.

ROSEMARY HAD RELATIVELY SHORT HAIR FOR A WOMAN.

DRIVING --

SHE WAS DRIVING THE CAR.

YOU KNOW, THAT KIND OF MAKES IT SENSE.

ON AUGUST 10th, 1977, DAVID BERKOWITZ IS ARRESTED.

HOW DID YOU FEEL WHEN YOU KNEW THAT HE WAS --

MY SISTER CALLED ME.

IT WAS PROBABLY ABOUT 2:00 IN THE MORNING WHEN I FOUND OUT.

IT WAS, YOU KNOW -- EVERY EMOTION YOU COULD THINK OF.

RELIEF, ELATION, KIND OF LIKE THE PREVIOUS 13 MONTHS, KIND OF LIKE, YOU KNOW, PLAYED IN MY HEAD REAL QUICK, YOU KNOW.

AND I KNOW, I BASICALLY SAT ON MY BED FOR TWO HOURS KIND OF LIKE COLLECTING MY THOUGHTS.

ALL RIGHT.

CARL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR COMING HERE AND SHARING YOUR STORY.

YOU'RE WELCOME.

> SAYS, ARE YOU DAVID BERKOWITZ?

HE LOOKED AT ME WITH THAT SMILE OF HIS AND SAYS, LIKE THIS, SAYS, 'NO, I'M THE SON OF SAM.'

JUST AMAZED NME THE WAY HE WAS O CALM ABOUT EVERYTHING KNOWING WHAT HE DID.

THAT WAS DETECTIVE EDDIE ZEIGO, ONE OF THE OFFICERS CREDITED WITH CRACKING THE CASE AGAINST DAVID BERKOWITZ TALKING WITH LEGENDARY NEWSMAN MARVIN SCOTT.

NEW YORK CITY SAT GRIPPED IN FEAR AS ALL AWAITED WORD ON WHERE THE SON OF SAM WOULD FIND HIS NEXT VICTIMS.

THE FEAR PARALYZED THE CITY.

AND THAT FEAR FUELED COLLABORATION.

POLICE AND THE MEDIA WORKED CLOSELY TOGETHER TO CATCH A MADMAN HELLBENT ON MURDER.

JOINING US NOW TO TAKE US BACK INTO THE NEWSROOM TO 40 YEARS AGO AS THE SON OF SAM STORY UNFOLDED IS VETERAN NEW YORK CITY JOURNALIST MARVIN SCOTT, AUTHOR OF 'AS I SAW IT: A REPORTER'S INTREPID JOURNEY.'

WELCOME BACK TO THE SHOW.

THANK YOU, JENNA.

GOOD TO BE HERE.

GOING BACK SO MANY YEARS, I REMEMBER HOW -- YOU USED TWO WORDS, GRIPPING, PARALYZED.

UH-HUH.

THE CITY OF NEW YORK WAS ABSOLUTELY PARALYZED DURING THE ONE-YEAR PERIOD THAT THE SON OF SAM WAS RUNNING RAMPANT THROUGH THE CITY KILLING PEOPLE.

HE KILLED SIX, WOUNDED SEVEN, AND EVERYONE WAS -- IT WAS TERRIFYING.

ALL OF THIS COMING JUST AT THE SAME TIME NEW YORK CITY WAS IN CRISIS BECAUSE CRIME WAS THE HIGHEST RATE IT HAD BEEN.

THE STREETS WERE FILTHY.

THE CITY WAS NEAR BANKRUPTCY.

ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS FED INTO IT ON TOP OF HAVING THIS MADMAN ROAMING THE STREETS AND KIMMING YOUNG PEOPLE.

AND -- AND KILLING YOUNG PEOPLE.

AND EDDIE ZEIGO FINALLY ARRESTED EDDIE BERKOWITZ.

HE WAS A FRIEND AND A NEWS CONTACT AND TALKED ABOUT THE NIGHT HE ENCOUNTERED BERKOWITZ.

HE SAID HE FOUND IT VERY STRANGE THE WAY HE REACTED PARTICULARLY WHEN HE ASKED HIM HIS NAME.

ARE YOU DAVID BERKOWITZ?

UH-HUH --

HIS RESPONSE -- NO.

I'M SON OF SAM.

ZEIGO SAID HE FOUND THAT ODD, HE WAS SO CALM CONSIDERING WHAT HE HAD DONE, KILLING SIX PEOPLE, WOUNDING SEVEN OTHERS.

FAST FORWARD A FEW YEARS.

YOU WERE ABLE TO GET IN CONTACT WITH BERKOWITZ WHEN HE WAS IN PRISON.

ON THE 30th ANNIVERSARY BACK IN 2007, I REACHED OUT HOPEFULLY TO GET AN INTERVIEW WITH HIM.

HE WAS AT THE SULLIVAN CORRECTIONAL FACILITY, UPSTATE NEW YORK.

AND AS NOTED, THE DETECTIVE WAS A FRIEND, AND I ASKED, EDDIE, WOULD YOU COME UP TO THE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY WITH ME IF I GET TO MEET WITH BERKOWITZ?

HE SAID HE WOULD CONSIDER THAT.

FIRST HE WAS AMENABLE TO IT.

I WROTE A COUPLE OF LETTERS TO BERKOWITZ, DIDN'T GET AN INITIAL ANSWER.

THEN I RECEIVED THIS LETTER.

HE RESPONDED, BUT IT WAS AFTER DETECTIVE ZEIGO SAID HE THOUGHT ABOUT IT, HE DID NOT WISH TO MAKE THE TRIP UP TO THE CORRECTIONAL FACILITY.

AT WHICH POINT BERKOWITZ BACKED AWAY FROM DOING AN INTERVIEW.

HE HAD HOPED TO MEET THE MAN WHO ARRESTED HIM.

HE TALKED ABOUT IT, HE SAID, I VAGUELY RECALL DETECTIVE ZEIGO BECAUSE IT WAS A LONG TIME AGO, AND THE ENTIRE ARREST INCIDENT WAS A TRAUMATIC ORDEAL FOR ME.

NOWADAYS, I BARELY REMEMBER THIS PERIOD OF MY LIFE.

IT'S A BLUR.

I DON'T EVEN REMEMBER IF I GOT TO SPEAK WITH DETECTIVE ZEIGO VERY MUCH.

MOSTLY I RECALL FINDING MYSELF AT THE KING'S COUNTY HOSPITAL PRISON WARD, AND THAT'S ABOUT IT.

IT WAS A BLUR.

IF YOU LOOK BACK AT THE VIDEO IMAGES OF THAT NIGHT OF HIM.

HE WAS -- HE SEEMED STUNNED AND -- IT WAS UNREAL.

BUT THE CITY WAS IN SUCH RELIEF THAT THEY FINALLY HAD CAPTURED THIS MADMAN, AND HE FACED TRIAL AND WAS CONVICTED AND SERVING A LIFE SENTENCE.

THEN I FOUND IT VERY INTERESTING.

AT THE END OF THIS LETTER, DATED AUGUST 11th, 2007, PLEASE WISH MR. ZEIGO WELL FOR ME.

I AM DEEPLY SORRY FOR THE CRIMES I COMMITTED.

I CONTINUALLY PRAY FOR THOSE WHOM I INJURED, AS WELL AS FOR THE FAMILIES OF THOSE WHO LOST A LOVED ONE.

I AM THANKFUL TO HAVE SURVIVED, AND I WISH TO MOVE ON.

GOD BLESS YOU.

WOW.

DAVID BERKOWITZ.

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO HIM IN PRISON -- HE ADOPTED RELIGION.

HE BECAME A BORN-AGAIN CHRISTIAN.

AND HE'S -- HE IS QUITE RELIGIOUS.

AND HE IS -- HE'S ACCEPTED HIS FATE, RECOGNIZING WHAT HORROR HE CREATED IN THE LIVES HE TOOK SO MANY YEARS AGO.

I DON'T KNOW IF THAT BRINGS ANY PEACE OR SOLACE TO THE FAMILIES, BUT THAT IS -- I THINK IT'S VERY IMPORTANT THAT --

I DON'T THINK YOU CAN EVER BRING CLOSURE.

WHEN YOU LOSE A LOVED ONE LIKE THAT, THERE'S NO WAY TO BRING CLOSURE.

UH-HUH.

THE MOST DIFFICULT STORIES I WOULD SAY I'VE COVERED OVER MY 50 YEARS HERE ARE THOSE IN WHICH PEOPLE HAVE LOST THEIR LIVES AT THE HANDS OF CRIMINALS.

SO SUDDENLY, THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, SO FULL OF LIFE, AND GONE IN SUCH A WAY BECAUSE ONE MAN, WHATEVER THE PROBLEM WAS, WHETHER IT WAS MENTAL ILLNESS OR WHATEVER, AND WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH IT -- THIS WAS HAPPENING 40 YEARS AGO, BUT TODAY WE HAVE SIMILAR PROBLEMS.

THERE ARE PEOPLE IN THE STREET, WE HAVE TO FIND A WAY TO RECOGNIZE PEOPLE WHO ARE IN DISTRESS MENTALLY, WHO HAVE THE CAPABILITY OF ACTING LIKE A DAVID BERKOWITZ.

WE HAVE TO FIND THEM EARLY ENOUGH AND TREAT THEM.

AND THAT'S THE BIG CHALLENGE WE FACE TODAY.

ALL RIGHT.

MARVIN SCOTT, AGAIN, I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH.

THAT WAS -- NO, THAT WAS REALLY, REALLY IMPORTANT AND IMPRESSIVE.

AND MORE THAN ANYTHING, THE RESPONSIBILITY OF GOOD JOURNALISM.

IMPORTANT.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY JAMES AND MERRILL TISH, BERNARD AND IRENE SCHWARTZ, ROSALIND P.

WALTER, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, AND BY -- ♪

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

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