By Stephen McKinley
It has been 15 years since 22-year-old Christopher O’Connor was found dead outside the L’Amour East Nightclub in Queens, N.Y., and the questions over how he died are still being asked.
At the time, New York City officials ruled O’Connor’s death to have been due to excessive drinking, shortly after his body was found on April 11, 1987.
His family and friends, however, have held a different opinion: that either O’Connor was murdered or, at the very least, that his death came about due to his being dragged into the nightclub and beaten by several bouncers.
“A coverup or incompetence?” asks a new website that has been started by O’Connor’s old employer and friend Michael Salem. Salem said that the Internet allowed him to highlight the case again after 13 years of neglect.
The facts of the case are these: on the night of April 10 1987, O’Connor and two friends went to L’Amour East, where Motorhead and another band, Savage Grace, were playing. In the early hours of the morning, sometime after 2:30 a.m., it is believed bouncers threw O’Connor out of the club, where he later made a 911 call from 04:21:57 to 04:25:22, describing to the 911 operator that he had been badly beaten and needed an ambulance.
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Witnesses variously described O’Connor in further arguments with patrons and bouncers from the nightclub, and at least one witness said that he saw O’Connor being dragged back into the club by the bouncers.
The next day, O’Connor’s body was found at about 1:45 p.m. by a porter employed by L’Amour East when he took out garbage from the club to the dumpster in the alley.
The city coroner ruled that O’Connor died of acute alcohol poisoning.
Salem is convinced that someone still knows the truth as to how O’Connor met his end, and that with a little prompting, someone will come forward and offer information.
“At least 25 people may have witnessed his murder,” said Salem, who firmly believes that the bouncers at the nightclub beat O’Connor to death.
“Motorhead [a band from England] were playing there that night, maybe some of the roadies saw something.”
Salem alleges that corrupt city officials covered up the murder as a matter of political convenience.
A police source in the 110th precinct where O’Connor died said that there are no plans to reopen the case. A member of the cold-case squad in Queens confirmed this, indicating that the case had so far not been revived.
“Chris worked for me; he was like a surrogate son,” Salem said. “Of course he drank, but he was Irish, and a young guy, he weighed 230 pounds. He couldn’t drink himself to death at that age.”
“Because of the Internet, we can get to a lot of people,” he said.
The website for the case is at: www.helpchristopher.com.