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

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The anger and sadness I feel today is indescribable. One of the men that were convicted of murdering my father will be let out on parole. He will be given a second chance at life. I don't understand why or how this is even possible. A police officer was murdered, a man working to uphold the law and provide for his family was killed. He was a good man, father, husband, and friend to many. So many people loved him. My heart is broken! There has to be something done to stop this. My father did not get to see his children grow up. He didn't get to meet his grandchildren. He never got to live in the home he was in the process of purchasing when his life was stolen from him. What kind of justice is this? The men that killed my father should spend the rest of their lives in prison for what they have taken from us. My father was 34 years old. We can't just let this happen he is not here to fight for himself. We need to speak up for him.

Christine Dunston
Your daugher

July 27, 2020

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