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, the one suspect opened fire with a shotgun, killing Officer Dunston. Officer Dunston's partner returned fire and called for backup. As he was calling for backup, all three suspects fled. One suspect was apprehended by backup officers and the two other suspects were apprehended the next day by detectives. A 17-year-old girl, caught in the crossfire, was shot, resulting in the loss of sight in one eye.

On February 9, 1982, all three suspects, 24, 25, and 32, were convicted of murder, assault, robbery, burglary, and sentenced to 25 years to life. The 25-year-old died in prison on October 5, 2021. The 24-year-old was paroled on April 7, 2021.

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


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

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Shotgun
  • Offender Sentenced to life

robbery in progress

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This week another family in the Metropolitan New York area is experiencing the sudden loss of their spouse, parent, extended family, neighbor, coworker and friend. For some though it's more or less a headline. For those who have had to endure this tragedy, it must be especially painful. Jimmy was a dedicated father who wanted this world to be a better place. I just want to say, even without these painful reminders, Jimmy Dunston, you are not forgotten.

Grace Anker

March 29, 2024

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