Officer Dennis Charles Doty
Tour of Duty: 10 years
Badge Number: Not available
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: May 13, 1982
Weapon Used: Handgun
Suspect Info: Death sentence – overturned in 2005 – retrial and convicted
On Thursday, May 13, 1982 at about 8:30 am, Riverside Police Department Officer Dennis C. Doty and Philip N. Trust, who worked in the felony warrant section of the department, were both shot and killed when they attempted to serve an arrest warrant at a house on Wolfe Avenue in the city of Riverside. They were attempting to arrest Jackson Chambers Daniels Jr. who had failed to appear in court for sentencing in a bank robbery case and was to begin serving a 13-year sentence. The incident the suspect had been convicted of involved a 1980 robbery of a Riverside bank and a high-speed chase that culminated in a shoot-out with police officers. The suspect had been wounded during the shoot-out and paralyzed from the waist down as a result of his wounds. Daniels had pleaded guilty to assault with a deadly weapon on police officers, robbery, and being an ex-felon in possession of a concealed firearm. He later attempted to change his guilty plea, but was denied. Daniels had been sentenced to 13 years in state prison, but he had been free on bail while appealing his conviction. After the appeal failed, he was scheduled to report to court for final sentencing on April 28. Judge John H. Hews issued a bench warrant for his arrest when Daniels failed to appear in court.
Both officers were working in plain clothes, assigned to the warrant detail. They had driven to an address on Wolfe Street in Riverside, on the basis of recent information that the suspect they were looking for was at that location. When the officers arrived, they found Daniels, nude sitting in his wheelchair, in a bedroom at the front of the residence. The officers allowed Daniels to reach onto a bed post to grab a shirt. Daniels, however, pulled a gun from where it had been concealed under him and shot the two police officers. Officer Doty died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, while Officer Trust died of gunshot injuries to his stomach area. Each officer was shot once. Officer Trust returned fire during the shootout, wounding Daniels in the hand. Daniels managed to escape and remain at large for approximately 60 hours. He was subsequently arrested in Rubidoux, California by Riverside police officers. The round remained in the suspect’s hand and was a crucial piece of evidence in the ensuing trial. The suspect, who had been paralyzed from the waist down two years earlier in a shootout with a Riverside police officer, was found guilty of their murders and sentenced to death. It is believed that the motive of the shooting was revenge over the previous shooting. In 2005 a judge overturned the suspect’s death sentence on claims by the defense that the suspect suffered from schizophrenia. Officer Doty, 35, was a 10-year veteran of the Riverside Police Department and is survived by his parents and two sisters who live in Riverside. Officer Doty was a U.S. Army Veteran of Vietnam and was the recipient of a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.
Officer Doty is buried at Olivewood Cemetery, Riverside, California.