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

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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

View all 62 Reflections

Thank you for your service. My deepest condolences to your family.

It's appalling and heartbreaking that one of your killers was released. That's unacceptable, and it's not justice. You and your family deserve better justice than that. My prayers to your family for the additional anguish this is causing them.


MaryAnn A

April 19, 2021

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