Paul McCartney at March for Our Lives: ‘One of my best friends was killed in gun violence’

Paul McCartney joined the March for Our Lives on Saturday in New York City — not far from where his former Beatles bandmate John Lennon was fatally shot years ago.

Protesters for the New York march gathered on Manhattan’s Upper West Side near the Dakota apartment building at the corner of 72nd Street and Central Park West, where Lennon lived with his wife, Yoko Ono, and their son, Sean Lennon.

McCartney and his wife, Nancy Shevell, wore black T-shirts that read, “We Can End Gun Violence.” He also held up a sign with the March for Our Lives logo.

Alluding to Lennon, McCartney told CNN, “One of my best friends was killed in gun violence right around here, so it’s important to me.”

Paul McCartney and his wife, Nancy Shevell, march in New York City on March 24, 2018. (Photo: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters)

When asked whether he thinks change can happen at the federal level, McCartney said, “I’m like everyone; I don’t know. But this is what we can do. So I’m here to do it.”

Lorna Mae Johnson, the assistant treasurer for the Democratic National Committee, asked McCartney whether he would share his message on camera. He told viewers, “Get out and vote. You can make the change. It’s up to you.”

Slideshow: Scenes from March for Our Lives rallies around the world >>>

Lennon and McCartney formed what many consider the greatest songwriting partnership of the 20th century. The Beatles enjoyed unprecedented critical and commercial success, and had an enormous impact on the thoughts and attitudes of the ’60s youth. After the Beatles disbanded in 1970, the former bandmates pursued successful music careers — Lennon as a solo artist and McCartney primarily as the frontman for Wings — but both were routinely asked whether their old band would reunite one day.

Items left at the mosaic named for John Lennon’s song “Imagine” at Strawberry Fields, the Central Park garden dedicated in his honor in New York. (Photo: Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)

But on Dec. 8, 1980, a deranged fan, Mark David Chapman, shot and killed Lennon, an outspoken advocate of pacifism. Chapman had waited outside the Dakota all day and asked for Lennon’s autograph as he walked to a limousine, heading to a recording session. Later that night, as Lennon returned to the entrance of the Dakota, Chapman fired five shots at the musician, striking him four times in the back. He was pronounced dead at Roosevelt Hospital.

The March for Our Lives demonstrations, which are dedicated to student-led activism for ending gun violence and mass shootings, took place across the U.S. and at locations around the world. They were organized in response to last month’s mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., where 17 people were killed and many more were wounded.