Police Officer James T. Dunston

Police Officer James T. Dunston

New York City Housing Authority Police Department, New York

End of Watch Thursday, November 20, 1980

James T. Dunston

Police Officer James Dunston was shot and killed after he and his partner responded to a robbery in progress.

Officer Dunston and his partner were directed by their central dispatcher to respond to a burglary in progress on East 102nd Street in Manhattan. There was, in fact, a "push in robbery" in progress at the location. Three armed suspects had pushed their way into an apartment. The suspects were holding a family hostage until another family member arrived home. That family member had the combination to the family safe.

When the officers arrived, they knocked on the door of the apartment. When the door opened, one suspect opened fire with a shotgun, killing Officer Dunston. Officer Dunston's partner returned fire and called for back-up. As he was calling for back-up, all three suspects fled. One suspect was apprehended by back-up officers and the two other suspects were apprehended the next day by detectives. All three suspects were charged with murder, found guilty and sentenced to life.

Officer Dunston had served with of the New York City Housing Authority Police Department for 11 years and had previously served with the United States Army. He is survived by his wife and three children. He was assigned to Police Service Area 5.


  • Age 33
  • Tour 11 years
  • Badge 2653
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Three charged with murder

Most Recent Reflection

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Officer Dunston, it is now 37 years since your brutal murder and as is evident by the reflections left by family and friends, you are missed as much today as you were then and still loved as much.

It's heartwarming to read the reflections and to know, no matter how much time as passed, they still somehow feel the warmth and love you shared, the humor, the compassion, everything that made you special.

God Bless you. I know he's blessed all who know you. I used the present tense because, you are still truly with them all.

Ptl. Jim Leahy, Jr.
Harvard University Police Department

November 20, 2017

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