Del Shannon: Age 55 | Cause Of Death: SUICIDE


Del Shannon: Age 55 | Cause Of Death: SUICIDE

(born: Charles Westover, 30 Dec. 1934, Coopersville, Michigan;  died: 8 Feb. 1990, LA, CA)

From the plethora of clean, American, post doo-wop male vocalists to find enormous success in the early ’60s, only a small handful retained musical credibility. Shannon was undoubtedly from this pedigree… Ultimately however, he was branded to rock ‘n’ roll revival tours which finally took their toll on 8 February 1990, when a severely depressed Shannon pointed a .22 calibre rifle to his head and pulled the trigger, ending the misery echoed in his catalogue of hits.

A Fuller Up: First Hand Account:

I was working the desk at the Medical Examiner’s when Deputy Roger Hom from the Sheriff’s Info Bureau called to verify that we had received a “call” on one “Charles Weedon Westover”.  I immediately recognized the name and said, “you mean Del Shannon” to which he replied “that’s why we are checking, a patrol unit is already on the scene”. About the time I hung up the phone, Investigator Gary Kellerman walked by and handed me a standard call sheet and indicated he would call later with directions as it was in far north L.A. County.  When Gary did call, he asked me if I knew who it was (why everyone asks me is anyone’s guess).  I said I did and headed out.  When I arrived at the scene some 30-45 min later and entered the house, Mr. Shannon was found, deceased for some time, in a wooden rocking chair.  He was minus his hairpiece. Yep, that wavy hair that used to hang down in front was a rug. Both eyes were black and blue from the trauma that close contact gun shot wounds will cause and he was slumped slightly sideways, wearing only a bathrobe.  He had been dead for several hours.  I observed several ceremonial record awards and a lot of obviously expensive musical instruments.  Gary and I removed Shannon from the chair, laid him on a sheet of plastic and wrapped him further for transport to the Coroners Office. Along with him was the .22 rifle that had been used.  I had vehicle 603 0r 892 as they were the few that had AM/FM radios.  After awhile the local station played a few of his songs and the hair on my neck was straight up and stayed there a long time.  I brought Shannon in, weighed, measured and fingerprinted him for processing subsequent to his post mortem exam later in the morning.  I looked at him the next day, after he had be “done” and observed that the bullet had left several scars inside the skull as it will when it bounced around the inside of his head. His remains were claimed almost 2 weeks later; and he was cremated by The Neptune Society on Burbank Blvd. I understand his cremains were buried in a business partner’s back yard, location unknown.  ~ Bob Kline # 233760
Los Angeles Coroner-Medical Examiners Office
Investigations/Processing/Transportation 1987-1990.

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