Man who threatened to kill Campbell, Coitsville police gets four years
By Justin Wier
A man who threatened to kill all Coitsville and Campbell police officers received a sentence of four years in prison Thursday in Mahoning County Common Pleas Court.
On June 13, David Dunkel, 57, of West Middlesex, Pa., pulled alongside a Coitsville officer, blocking him in his car, and shouted threats including, “[Expletive] you, cops. I will kill you [expletive]. I will run you over with my truck and kill your a--.”
He also left recorded threats on the answering machine at the Coitsville Township Police Department and his father’s voicemail.
While his father was at the Coitsville police station making a report on the voicemail, he received a call from Dunkel, who repeated the threats to police over the phone.
The voicemails detailed a plan to put armor on his truck, drive it into police cars and shoot the officers, and stated a desire to make national news, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors recommended four years, but Dunkel’s attorney asked for probation.
He said the threats were isolated to one day, and Dunkel – who was drunk at the time – has no memory of making the threats.
Dunkel has since entered into treatment for alcoholism and said he has been sober since.
He told Judge John M. Durkin his son overdosed the day of the threats and his dog had died the night before.
“Something snapped in my brain,” he said. “I meant no harm. Never did. Never will.”
Judge Durkin said a nonprison sentence would send the wrong message, and he must act to ensure the safety of police officers.
“The last thing that I would want to do is the work of a police officer,” Judge Durkin said. “We’ve had too many instances where individuals – sober or drunk – have tried to take out those who protect us.”
The judge added it would have been more understandable if, in his grief, Dunkel had threatened the person who sold his son the drugs causing the overdose.
“I’m having trouble [understanding] how that series of events led to a confrontation with police who had nothing to do with those events,” the judge said.
Dunkel will have the opportunity for judicial release after six months, at which time Judge Durkin said he would discuss additional terms and conditions regarding treatment.