‘The Sons of Sam: A Descent Into Darkness’ is a Netflix original four-part documentary series about the self-proclaimed serial killer with the name “Son of Sam,” also called the “.44 Caliber Killer” due to the type of Bulldog revolver he used. Ultimately, David Berkowitz was the only one apprehended for terrorizing New York City from July 29, 1976, to July 31, 1977, by shooting 13 young individuals in the dead of night. But many theories allege that he did not act alone. In fact, a few surviving victims, including Carl Denaro, feel the same way.
Who is Carl Denaro?
On October 23, 1976, Carl Denaro, a then-20-year-old Citibank guard, was out partying with his friends as a last hurrah before he would leave to join the Air Force as a photographer. From a bar in Flushing, Queens, he left with 18-year-old Rosemary Keenan, a Queens College student, at quarter to two in the morning. For some privacy, the lovers parked Rosemary’s car in front of a house on 159th street, a secluded residential area, and lit up a joint. Then, suddenly, the windows exploded. In a panic, Rosemary hit the pedal and rushed back to the bar.
When there, Carl, who had passed out for maybe a few seconds, realized that his long hair was matted with blood and that his shirt was completely soaked as well. However, it wasn’t until officers approached him at around 4 a.m. at the local hospital that he found out that he had been shot in the back of the head and that somebody had fired at him and Rosemary with the intent to kill. While Rosemary only suffered minor injuries from the shattered glass, Carl needed to have a metal plate inserted in him to replace a too-damaged portion of his skull.
Where is Carl Denaro Now?
Because neither Carl and Rosemary had seen their assailant, they had to face a world of second-hand information and isolation. Moreover, due to his injury, Carl had to re-evaluate his future opportunities as he could no longer pursue his dream of serving the country. He did feel profound relief when David Berkowitz pleaded guilty to all the shootings, including his, in court, but even that was short-lived. After all, at a civil hearing soon after, Carl heard the rumor of the possibility of someone else being involved as well, which planted a seed of doubt in his mind.
Six years later, Carl read Maury Terry‘s book, ‘The Ultimate Evil,’ and then saw the 1993 interview between him and David, becoming convinced that the latter was not his shooter. “From 1993 on, I’ve been investigating and talking to law enforcement, anyone I could really to help me shed light on what happened,” he said. “I was 100 percent, as I still am to this day, 100 percent sure other people were involved, and David Berkowitz didn’t shoot me.”
“My hope [as I continue to work on this old case], and even though it’s far-fetched,” Carl added, “I hope someday to bring to justice the other people that were involved. I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but until the day I die, I’m going to keep trying.” For this, he not only continues to make several public appearances, but he also recently published a book titled ”The Son of Sam’ and Me: The Truth About Why I Wasn’t Shot By David Berkowitz.’
Now in his mid-60s, Carl Denaro resides in Floral Park, New York, where he serves as a Telecom Expense Management Audit Analyst at MDSL. We should mention that back in 2017, his daughter, Casey Denaro, directed a short film, ‘CARL,’ chronicling his entire story for a project while attending Brooklyn College as a film student. It won the National Board of Review Student Grant and got selected for the New York Shorts International Film Festival.
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