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

Add to My Heroes

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

Most Recent Reflection

View all 65 Reflections

Good morning .My name is Robert Arrington I am retired Det.NYPD. James Dunston was my training officer at PSA#5 Duck as I called him was a wonderful PO and man.He taught me so much.On the day of his death I was working in the sector Duck was killed in.Duck and his partner relieved meand my partner in their RMP.They just got thier pictures taken at PSA#6 and relieved us so we could get ours taken.We heard the call on the radio of cop shot while at PSA#6.By the time we raced to the scene they were carrying Duck out of the building.I will always love and honor my hero training officer PO James Duck DunstonRIP. DUCK Love the KID as you always called me.

Retired Detective Robert Arrington

January 26, 2022

Want even more control of your Reflection? Create a free ODMP account now for these benefits:

  • Quick access to your heroes
  • Reflections published quicker
  • Save a Reflection signature
  • View, edit or delete any Reflection you've left in the past

Create an account for more options, or use this form to leave a Reflection now.