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Officer Dunn remembered as selfless

Susan McMillan • Mar 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

A bullet ripped Andrew “Andy” Dunn from both of his families.

Shot and killed in the line of duty early Saturday morning, Dunn will never return home to his young family or work with the uniformed brothers and sisters with whom he patrolled Sandusky's streets.

Dunn, 30, followed in his father’s footsteps by becoming a police officer. Matt Dunn, a Sandusky police officer since 1987, didn’t push his children into law enforcement careers, but his son eventually became an officer and Andy’s sister, Nakia Stookey, became a dispatcher.

“All Andy ever wanted to do was be a police officer like his father,” said Dan Poggiali, principal of Sandusky High School.

He remembers the 1999 graduate as a good student, likeable and respected by his classmates. He remembers Dunn as someone who looked up to his father.

The Sandusky Police Department hired Dunn as a reserve officer in 2003 and made him a full-time officer in May 2008. He was briefly laid off last year in a round of budget cuts.

“He was so happy to be back on the force,” Sandusky city commissioner Dave Waddington.  “All he wanted was to be a police officer.”

Dunn turned 30 just last week. He and his wife, Julie, had two sons, a 2-year-old and a 5-month-old.

He considered himself a family man and earned a reputation as a “fine young officer,” Sandusky interim police Chief Jim Lang said.

“Every time when I walked in in the morning he would always say, ‘Good morning,’” Lang said. “He was always eager to go to work.”

Dunn worked his way into the department after earning an associate degree in police science and law enforcement from Terra Community College and gaining experience at other police departments.

One of those departments was based at Cedar Point, where Shawna Sweene Evans worked with him on the third shift as a dispatcher during the summer of 2000.

“He always tried to find the lighter side of things, even in the crappiest calls we had, noise complaints or something like that,” she said. “If you were having a bad day, he tried to cheer you up.”

Dunn worked the 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. shift in Sandusky since January, Lang said. It’s typical for officers to switch between day and night every year to avoid burnout.

According to Dunn’s biographical information listed on the department’s promotional materials, he enjoyed spending as much time as possible with his family, playing golf and participating in other outdoor activities.

Dunn’s loved ones huddled behind closed doors Saturday, grieving their loss.

Family member Beth Lawrence is organizing a candlelight vigil in his memory at 8 p.m. today at the site of the shooting on Tyler Street.

“He was just a very sweet person, caring, loving,” she said. “If someone fell he would run to get there to help them up. He was just full of life and full of love and full of heart.”

See Sunday's edition of the Register for more coverage of Saturday's tragic events including timelines, a profile of Kevin Randleman's criminal history and community and family reaction.

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