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3 years before he put a gun to head of a suspect, Charlotte cop was shot in his own bed

Four CMPD officers tackle suspect

After an extended foot chase four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers are shown on a video punching, elbowing and holding a pistol to an unarmed suspect's head during a March arrest.
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After an extended foot chase four Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers are shown on a video punching, elbowing and holding a pistol to an unarmed suspect's head during a March arrest.

The former Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer shown on a 2016 video putting his gun to an unarmed suspect’s head was himself shot during a home invasion three years before.

On Oct. 13, 2013, Officer Jon Dunham was wounded during a 6 a.m. attempted robbery by a gunman who came into the bedroom of Dunham’s apartment while he was asleep, according to a former CMPD senior officer. Dunham’s son also was in the home at the time.

“He’s lucky to be alive,” said retired CMPD Deputy Chief Eddie Levins who responded to the scene the night of the shooting. “The intruder wakes him out of a dead sleep in his bedroom and shoots him. He’s standing over him, getting ready to shoot him again, and the gun malfunctions.” A 19-year-old man was eventually arrested and charged.

Dunham recovered and returned to active duty on Dec. 30, 2013, a CMPD spokesman said. He now works for the Davidson police.

The officer appears in a March 2016 police video chasing suspect James Yarborough with three other officers. When Yarborough falls, the police elbow and punch him. In his incident report, Dunham said he thought Yarborough was armed and said he punched him six times, then elbowed him.

In the video, Dunham eventually presses his service revolver to Yarborough’s temple.

“I will kill you, you understand? Give me your hand now,” Dunham said.

An Internal Affairs review said Dunham and the other officers acted reasonably, even up to Dunham’s putting his gun to Yarborough’s head.

But after video of the incident was released this week by WBTV, an Observer news partner, CMPD Chief Kerr Putney said he “can’t defend” Dunham’s actions. Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts described the officer’s behavior as “unacceptable” and “indefensible.”

Davidson police Chief Jeanne Miller have reviewed the video and concluded Dunham’s actions were justified, said Davidson spokeswoman Cristina Shaul.

Dunham, now listed as a corporal on the Davidson police website, declined comment Friday, according to Shaul.

Michael Gordon: 704-358-5095, @MikeGordonOBS

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