'Son of Sam' Survivor Recalls Moment He Was Shot in the Head: 'My Shirt Just Turned Blood Red'
He survived a .44 caliber bullet to the head that was fired by New York's most nefarious serial killer, but Carl Denaro remains rattled, more than 40 years after his brush with the "Son of Sam."
“Shards of glass were all over my arms and hands and although I was shot in the head I didn't realize it,” Denaro told Inside Edition about the October 1976 attack in Queens, N.Y. "My head went down and my hair was holding in all the blood from the head wound. My shirt just turned blood red."
Denaro was shot while sitting in a parked car in the Flushing neighborhood with Rosemary Keenan, 18. Keenan was unharmed in the shooting but even four decades later, the trauma is still fresh in Denaro's mind.
“I'll jump if a car backfires," he said. "I'll jump. Or if someone walks up behind me."
David Berkowitz terrorized New York City for more than a year before his arrest in August 1977.
His targets were young women and young couples.
It was the disco era and America’s greatest city was on the verge of collapse as burned out buildings loomed in the skyline. A July 1977 blackout made matters worse as riots, looting and other violent crimes were on the rise.
In the midst of it all was David Berkowitz, known to the public as “The .44 Caliber Killer” and “Son of Sam.”
In a series of letters to the police and New York Daily News reporter Jimmy Breslin, Berkowitz taunted cops and the media as he remained on the loose.
During his year-long killing spree, Berkowitz killed six people and wounded seven in eight attacks that stretched from the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn.
Retired NYPD Detective Marlon Hopkins was on the task force of 300 cops trying to nab the killer as his misdeeds spawned gruesome headlines.
“It caused a lot of fear,” he told Inside Edition.
It was the murder 20-year-old Stacy Moskowitz that ended the killing spree in July 1977 after she was attacked in Bath Beach, Brooklyn, while sitting in a car on a date with Robert Violante.
“Somebody came up with the idea, let’s check parking summonses in the area,” Hopkins recalled.
A ticketed car that was not from the neighborhood raised suspicion. The vehicle belonged to postal worker David Berkowitz who lived in Yonkers, N.Y., just north of the Bronx.
When officers found the vehicle outside Berkowitz's home, they found a shocking sight.
“In the car, there was a sack in the back and the butt of a rifle was sticking out,” Hopkins said.
Berkowitz is serving six consecutive life sentences and has been denied parole every time he has been eligible, most recently in 2016. He is up for parole again in 2018.
Berkowitz expressed regret for his crimes as he spoke to Inside Edition in 1999.
“I'm sorry that this happened. I'm sorry. It was a terrible tragedy,” he said. “The David Berkowitz of the past was a guy living without any hope and was a very troubled and tormented person. I believe that I was a demon, possessed.”
The 40th anniversary of that deadly year is being recalled in an Investigation Discovery documentary titled Son of Sam: The Hunt for a Killer, which premieres Saturday, August 5 at 9 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery. LOST TAPES: SON OF SAM will re-air on Smithsonian Channel Friday, August 4 at 10 p.m. ET.