John Paulsen, Kansas Native, Musician, Hotel Director, Killed: "Wrong Place, Wrong Time"

john-paulsen.jpg
Facebook photo, printed with permission
John Paulsen.
John Paulsen, a 48-year-old Kansas native who moved to St. Louis ten years ago and worked as a director at the Chase Park Plaza Hotel, was shot and killed over the weekend inside his convertible.

And his grieving family and friends back home in Goodland, Kansas, believe Paulsen was the victim of a random, senseless act of violence.

"The whole world was at his feet, and why this happened to him, I don't know," James Paulsen, his 72-year-old father tells Daily RFT. "It's tough. It really is."

Metro police officials say that Paulsen was parked on the 4200 block of Neosho Street in the Bevo neighborhood of south St. Louis at around 3:30 a.m. Sunday morning when he was fatally shot.

Police say he might have been closing the convertible top of his car when an unknown gunman fired at him. The suspect is a "black male, 6' - 6'2" tall, slender build with shoulder-length dreadlocks," cops say. He remains at large, and the investigation is ongoing. A police spokeswoman tells Daily RFT that the department has no new information to report as of yesterday afternoon. (The original full incident summary is below.)

john-paulsen-2.jpg
Facebook photo, printed with permission
John Paulsen.

Paulsen, the 57th homicide victim in the city of St. Louis this year, lived on the 900 block of Dover Place in the Carondelet neighborhood nearby the shooting.

See also:
- John Paulsen, 48, Shot Dead in Parked Convertible in South St. Louis

"It's shocked our little town here," says Judy Bateman, who runs the Bateman Funeral Home with her husband and is handling the arrangements. She's also a close family friend who knew Paulsen since he was a baby. Bateman's son and Paulsen were best friends, she says. "You're just not ready for that.... This shouldn't be happening to our kids' friends."

She continues, "It's just wrong place, wrong time."

James Paulsen tells us that his son, who was the director of catering at the Chase Park Plaza, had been working a wedding on Saturday and was likely on his way home at the time of the incident.

"He had stopped...and then the guy came out of nowhere," Paulsen says. "I don't know whether he was going to rob John or what."

Thumbnail image for neosho-street.jpg
via Google Maps
Neosho Street where Paulsen was shot.

Police say he was shot in the chest and died at a hospital a short while later. The suspect allegedly fled on foot.

Paulsen says it's important to the family that police catch the man responsible -- to stop him from committing another crime.

He adds of his son, "His family really misses him."

Bill Derbins, general manager of the Chase Park Plaza, confirms to Daily RFT that Paulsen worked for the hotel, adding, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family."

Paulsen was born in Kansas City, Kansas, on July 5, 1965, and was adopted nine months later by James and Janet Paulsen. He grew up and went to school in Goodland and graduated in 1983, a member of the National Honor Society. He went on to attend Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kansas, and then studied performing arts at Northwestern in Chicago before eventually moving to St. Louis.

Family and friends say he was a talented musician and performer who starred in musicals and shows throughout his youth.

john-paulsen-3.jpg
Facebook photo, printed with permission
John Paulsen.

"He was the lead tenor," his father says, noting that he also played organ, guitar, trombone and more. "He played about all the instruments."

"He could bring the whole...church to tears [with his voice]," adds Bateman. "He was just an incredible, wonderful musician."

Bateman recalls one time he sang in high school that stunned the entire crowd. "When it was over, it was absolutely silent for three seconds. Then the whole audience erupted."

She remembers him getting a lead role as a freshman in college, too.

Continue for the full obituary and police report.



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45 comments
Lady
Lady

I'm sorry for his family and what they have to go through. but sometimes the law officers, or detectives aren't right. Ronald is free now and soon will his brother be, i believe these two had nothing to do with it, but detectives will do whatever to get the job done, even lie, even believe others when they know they are lying, just give them some black person is cool with them. Ronald is free now and soon we hope his brother is. Both were lied on by the real persons family that did the crime for money, what a shame money, they say its the root to all evil so we see now. I hope Lorenzo is found not guilty because no young man she serve time for something her didn't do. But we all know the most black me do, really sad too. You all on her can say whatever you want and believe what you want , im a God loving woman and believes God wont put no more than you can handle. But sometimes i have to say the Black race gets it bad no matter what,most people that makes these comments bring race to it, only because they are racist. You all dont know the half of this so pls keep your negative comments to urself, it does no one any good to read ur junk.


69locaroja
69locaroja

Y'all got over four hundred years of KARMA coming!!!y'all hate us and y'all do everything y'all can to keep us down. Maybe if they( and they babies) weren't hungry that day paul would still be here. Y'all love to put the blame on us when in reality most of the crime is committed because they starving. Our government is the greedest, lyingest, most murderers of us all. Thy wipe they assess with hundred dollars Bill while we starve. Even after there terms are over we still pay them a salary til they die!!! Mother fuckers WHAT!!!!!!!

mobojoyo
mobojoyo

Time to ventilate jibbaboos.

JusticePlease
JusticePlease

If the useless pile of scum who murdered this man did it because of race then he should know that he killed someone who was an advocate for race relations and the betterment of all mankind.  John didn't have a racist bone in his body.  He was a truly good man who was stolen from us many years before his time.  The world has lost a great light in the passing of this beautiful man.

Whitey
Whitey

"Wrong Place, Wrong Time, Wrong Race"

Touré Turner
Touré Turner

This is so sad. Thank goodness I don't have dreadlocks.

Vincent Brian Marsden
Vincent Brian Marsden

Not even a chance. Criminals don't give a f*#k. I have a CCW. If it had been me it may have been the other, criminal, dead. To each his own.

John Dunning
John Dunning

How many more innocent people need to die before you reexamine your own personal views on the right to carry? If it were illegal and punishable by harsh sentences, even criminals might think twice...

Rach Mott
Rach Mott

Such a sad senseless act of violence.

Beth Hauser
Beth Hauser

Such a horrible tragedy...senseless!!

Vincent Brian Marsden
Vincent Brian Marsden

I knew John. Awesome guy. So sad. It doesn't need to become a gun discussion.

John Dunning
John Dunning

How about a sketch or better description of suspect... gun ownership... why do we allow guns again? Oh yeah. To protect from other guns... makes sense.

Jimmie Thomptson
Jimmie Thomptson

sadly, he was born White & lives in STL, this is not at all a surprise

Wanda Wright
Wanda Wright

Craig, I believe you've expressed it well. Nobody should die by senseless violence.

Mike Campbell
Mike Campbell

I worked with John on a couple events at the Chase and just talked to him at the A-List party last Thursday. He was a great guy. He'll be missed by many. My condolences to his family and co-workers at the Chase Park Plaza.

Debra Soucy Donze
Debra Soucy Donze

what is going on..car smash and grabs every day..POLICE need a bait car..to catch these thugs.

jennifergarlich
jennifergarlich

He was our wedding coordinator at the Chase for our wedding on June 22nd. He was such a kind man. My heart breaks for his family. Such a senseless act. He was a joy to work with and I truly enjoyed getting to know him. St Louis had lost a great man.

Rick Montgomery
Rick Montgomery

Absolutely senseless, ridiculous and horrible. And about 20 other adjectives I could list. I used to be good friends with a woman who is a director of catering and this made me think of her safety. Rest in peace, Mr. Paulsen, you were taken from this world way too soon :(

Renate Kheim
Renate Kheim

This is very sad. It was such a great place to live in the 60. I am sorry, I came to this country.

Stacia Hand
Stacia Hand

One of my friends and music teachers from high school was a close friend of his. Their whole community back in Kansas feels the loss. It's so senseless.

Craig Richason
Craig Richason

In STL, "wrong time, wrong place" means "any time, every place"

Craig Stevens
Craig Stevens

This "wrong place, wrong time" quote is just sad. No one should have to be shot at, no matter who or where they are. These thoughtless phrases are just spilled out because people can't comprehend it, and thus they miss the true causes of these shootings.

Lori Heintz Deal
Lori Heintz Deal

It seems that St. Louis city IS the wrong place at the wrong time....very sad

Corey Kallmbah
Corey Kallmbah

Black male go figure .speak up Obama,Jackson,sharp ton,oh wait its OK for blacks to kill ,

steved3141
steved3141

When will it stop? Never. It's never stopped since this was a city. It's St.Louis. It's always been this way. Always will be this way. It's the sleepy little city that if it catches you with your guard down in the hood, your dead. Always been that way. Ugly truth.

Tina Schlemer
Tina Schlemer

Is this kind of thing ever going to stop ???

Scott Tyler
Scott Tyler

Wrong Place, Wrong Time- Translation: St Louis, After dark.

rossi10283
rossi10283

@condoassociates1 this person did not live in a gated community.  as a matter of fact whee he did live does not have anything to do with where he was murdered.

JusticePlease
JusticePlease

@Vincent Brian Marsden Then what kind of discussion should it be?

JusticePlease
JusticePlease

@Jimmie Thomptson What does that mean?  Any white person living in STL can expect to be gunned down?

benjamin24.7
benjamin24.7

@Scott Tyler Nice blanket-statement, genius.

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