Band Member's Account of Cohn Shooting

August 17 2005, 8:45 PM

Guitarist Shane Fontayne has posted a chilling, first-person account of the attempted carjacking that resulted in the shooting of Grammy Award-winning singer Marc Cohn in Denver earlier this month. The incident occurred on the 1400 block of Stout Street after a show at the Denver Botanic Gardens, as Cohn, Fontayne and other band members rode back to their downtown hotel in a 15-passenger van.

[A] man had stepped out in front of the van. My memory doesn't recall if we stopped to avoid hitting him, but [road manager] Tom [Dube] says we kept moving. What I do recall is seeing him stand in front of us, pointing towards us. In what can only have been a couple of seconds, we realized that he was holding a gun and I clearly saw the look in his eyes of an intent that left no doubt in my mind. I knew for certain that he was going to shoot. Marc yelled, "Duck!" and I got my head down below the level of the seat. Simultaneously I heard the sound of the gun being fired and the crashing of glass around us.

Fontayne soon realized that Cohn had been struck in the head.

Crouching down and holding him, I did my best to comfort Marc who never lost consciousness, talking lucidly through it all, but we both were scared, aware that he had been shot and that he was bleeding. He immediately thought of his wife and children. "Tell me I'm not going to die" he pleaded with me. I kneeled down in front of him and assured him that he was behaving alertly...

Cohn was rushed to Denver Health Medical Center.

The incident happened at about 11:30p.m. and now it was about 2 a.m. Phil drove us all back to the hospital and soon I saw Marc. Miraculously, he was okay. He was lying down with an intravenous drip and in front of him was an X-ray of his head, where you clearly could see the bullet, about half an inch long imbedded in his head. It had not entered the skull. The bullet had been extracted without the need for surgery. I looked at him and said, "There's your next album cover!" He was able to laugh and he asked if we could stay with him.

Police later arrested Joseph Yacteen, 26, who has been charged with 19 felonies, including attempted first degree murder.