MANALAPAN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The man accused of shooting an off-duty New York City Police detective has turned himself in and now faces attempted murder charges.
Robert Dunbar allegedly shot the detective after he caught him with his estranged wife.
Dunbar was in court via closed-circuit television on Monday, charged with attempted murder. He didn’t talk because of an audio problem, but outside the courthouse his mother spoke to CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.
“He’s a wonderful person and this is going to turn out not to be what it seems,” she said.
“We pleaded not guilty. We’ll be back for the bail reduction hearing,” added defense attorney Yan Catsnelson.
Investigators said the off-duty officer, identified as Louis Pepe, was shot inside the Manalapan home where Dunbar’s estranged wife, Deborah, lives with their three little children. The children were said to be sleeping in bed at the time of the incident.
A friend said she had changed the locks, but that Robert Dunbar broke in. A neighbor, who didn’t want to be identified, said Deborah Dunbar came running to his house for help.
“She came over to our house, started screaming there had been a shooting in the house. She just was screaming ‘Bob shot Louis! Bob shot Louis!” the neighbor said.
Neighbors said trouble in the Dunbar household started during Christmas, that the couple separated in January and put the house up for sale in May. However, they said it didn’t stop Robert Dunbar from coming by.
“Since then he was essentially stalking her, coming around the house and her job,” a neighbor said.
The neighbor said Deborah Dunbar tried to get a restraining order, but was denied. He said Robert Dunbar threatened her.
“That if he found anyone in his house with her that he would kill the both of them,” the neighbor said.
“He didn’t know he was a police officer. I am not saying anything else,” Catsnelson said in response.
There was no answer at the NYPD officer’s home on Monday. He is married but had allegedly told Deborah Dunbar he was getting a divorce, CBS 2’s Sloan reported.
Friends said Deborah Dunbar was also injured and is staying with relatives in another state.
Robert Dunbar is being held on $500,000 bail.
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