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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Exclusive interview: ‘Son of Sam’ shooting survivor believes David Berkowitz did not shoot him and he’s now calling on police to re-open New York City’s most infamous murder investigation.

One of the ‘Son of Sam’ survivors speaks out for the first time in 15 years. Police told Carl Denaro that David Berkowitz is the one who shot him but now Denaro has serious doubts. After watching our first report, Denaro now wants to tell his story.
He has done some of his own investigating since he was shot in the head back in 1976. Now he’s calling on police to re-open the Berkowitz case and prove this was all a conspiracy. In October of 1976, 20-year old Carl Denaro was on a late night date. He and his girlfriend parked their car in Queens and a few minutes later their whole world changed. Denaro recalls, ”I thought the car exploded.” Instead, a shooter had just emptied five .44 caliber rounds into the car, hitting Denaro in the back of the head. His girlfriend wasn’t hit so she quickly sped off. Denaro survived but his scars will never heal. Carl Denaro points to his head stating, “It’s a big horseshoe scar and there’s a couple of staples, 8 staples going around and like 250 stitches.”
At the time police didn’t know who David Berkowitz was. Then a year later though, the infamous ‘Son of Sam’ serial killer was arrested and Berkowitz plead guilty to killing 6 people and wounding 7 others. That included Carl Denaro. Denaro –“I’d like to know who shot me. Mike Mason – You don’t know if it was Berkowitz? Denaro – I’m 99.9% sure it wasn’t him.” Denaro says he has good reason to believe Berkowitz was not acting alone. Denaro says, “I’ve run into up to 30 detectives that 'off record' will tell me they know other people were involved”.

Denaro also remembers how detectives confiscated the Volkswagen he was shot in so they could conduct forensic testing. He says when police returned the car a couple of weeks later the car’s owner was cleaning it out and found a .44 caliber bullet lodged in a blanket that was still in the wheel well of the VW. That bullet was then turned over to the police department’s ballistics experts but Denaro cites this as a clear case of shoddy police work.

Robert Violante is also a survivor and was told by police that Berkowitz is the one who shot him.Violante remembers, “I was shot in the head I was shot right in my right eye.” Viloante says he’s not convinced Berkowitz pulled the trigger, “The guy that was parked in front of me he described somebody totally different.” Witness descriptions and police sketches of the Son of Sam were also different.

In the past, former Queens District Attorney John Santucci has said even he thinks Berkowitz did not act alone. Santucci stated, “It has crossed my mind that this 44 caliber pistol that was the weapon used in the shootings that we witnessed was passed around among a number of people.”

In the mid ’90’s Berkowitz himself has said there were others who also committed the murders. David Berkowitz claimed,“I did not pull the trigger at every single one of them.” Since then he has once again changed his story.  Berkowitz also blames his murderous rage was fueled by his involvement with members of a Satanic cult. That’s why many wonder if they were also involved. Berkowitz says from his prison cell, “I really thought I was some kind of soldier in a Satanic army and we had determined to bring NYC to its knees.”

Denaro suspects cult members conspired with Berkowitz during the killing spree, ”I believe they should reopen the case because I think there are people who were involved who are still out there.”

Denaro was shot in a residential area of Flushing, Queens. There are other residents there who share his opinion that there more than one gunman involved. Mike DeAngelo lives in Flushing and doesn’t buy the lone gunman theory, “They pinned it on one guy basically.” Asked if he thought there was more than one person involved he states, “I do yeah I do.”
Despite the circumstances, Denaro says he has managed to move on with his life. “It just kind of gives you a whole new different outlook on taking every day as it comes.” And Berkowitz also has a different outlook.

Today he says he’s a Born again Christian. Berkowitz claims, “I had a personal encounter with God almighty right inside the prison house.”   When asked if Denaro believes Berkowitz has had a religious transformation he replied, ”Yes I do I do.”

Carl Denaro has never spoken with Berkowitz but he does have one question for him, ”Why don’t you come out and say who else is involved?”

Bronx District Attorney Mario Merola worked the case and before his death he remained adamant that the infamous ‘Son of Sam’ was the sole shooter. Berkowitz is set to go before the parole board again this May but he told me exclusively that he has no desire to seek parole this time around.
Here is the Link to my television report on WPIX in NYC:


  1. Can it be so simple that he has been reformed mike?. We should do as the bible says and love one another and let us not cast the first stone...
    There are so many worse things going on this world
    and jesus will return soon. Only jesus and god can judge him. Not you or anyone else, please if you can find it in yourself have sympathy for him.
    I'm sad when I see reporters try to dig up dirt on someone like him or me or anyone else for what?. Their own ambition for journalism and to lead them to new road to so called salvation..
    Please don't be like the rest of katie's and dan's that try to parade themselves on tv today...

  2. I'm sorry to hear that you are disappointed with my report. I did not try to dig up any dirt on David Berkowitz, anything that was reported had been reported in the past and I produced the report to illustrate the shooting survivor's theory regarding the case. I feel I was absolutely fair and balanced in my two reports. As you may have seen in the report, the survivor also has no resentments against Berkowitz and he does believe he is a changed man. I am a freelance journalist and asssure you that I am not parading myself on TV today...I'm sorry you feel that way and welcome all comments.