Officer James William Nunalee, Sr.

Officer James William Nunalee, Sr.

Wilmington Police Department, North Carolina

End of Watch Tuesday, April 4, 1978

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James William Nunalee, Sr.

Officer James Nunalee was ambushed and killed as he exited a convenience store. He had just signed the log book in the store and was leaving when two masked men opened fire on him, striking him 21 times with a semi-automatic rifle. The two then stole his service revolver and fled.

Although police suspected a particular husband and wife team of the robbery/murder, there was never enough evidence to arrest them. The case remained unsolved for 24 years, until the suspects' son, who was in prison on drug and weapons charges, came forward to tell Wilmington police that his parents were responsible for Officer Nunaleeā€™s murder. That statement, along with other evidence collected over the years, led police to finally close the case. Investigators believe the husband shot Officer Nunalee as his wife stood by, refusing to shoot.

Officer Nunalee was survived by his wife and son.


  • Age 24
  • Tour Not available
  • Badge Not available

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Rifle; M-16
  • Offender Case never solved

Most Recent Reflection

View all 25 Reflections

I would like to thank everyone for their kind words.
I was barely 3 when my father was taken from us.
Your words mean a lot, thank you all!

CPO James W. Nunalee, Jr.

April 7, 2021

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