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Park Rapids native murdered in Florida

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News Detroit Lakes,Minnesota 56501
Detroit Lakes Online
Park Rapids native murdered in Florida
Detroit Lakes Minnesota 511 Washington Avenue 56501

A Park Rapids native who was looking for a job to move back to Minnesota was murdered Sunday in his Tampa, Fla., suburb following a neighborhood dispute.


David James, 41, a 1987 graduate of Park Rapids Area High School, was shot in a neighborhood park while playing basketball with his 8-year-old daughter Danielle.

The shooting took place in a suburb called Valrico.

Witnesses say James, who was known as "DJ," tried to intervene in a neighborhood dispute with Trevor Dooley, 69, a school bus driver who lived on the street.

James allegedly lunged at Dooley, who was threatening skateboarders in the neighborhood with a gun. During the struggle, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office, the gun discharged.

According to James' Facebook page, he'd been looking to return with his family to Minnesota but the wages were too low to support his family of four.

James is the son of Don and Toni James, who have left the Park Rapids area. His nearest relative is a sister in St. Cloud, Donna Edmunds. She was en route to Florida Monday and could not be reached.

While at PRAHS, James was active in track, basketball, band and choir.

His Facebook page says he was in the U.S. Air Force 20 years and was currently a facilities manager for a company called L-3 Communications.

It indicated he was the construction manager for the facilities, and then ran them once completed.

Dooley was arrested Tuesday on a manslaughter charge after the Sunday incident.

He was led in handcuffs from his home on Partridge Point Trail and is expected to ask a judge Wednesday to release him on bail.

Sheriff's deputies say Dooley shot James Sunday afternoon in a confrontation over a teenage boy skateboarding on the neighborhood basketball court.

Dooley also faces charges of improper exhibition of a firearm and openly carrying a firearm, according to the Sheriff's Office.

Dooley was allegedly complaining that the skateboarding teens were on the park's basketball court. The teens told officers they had had numerous run-ins with Dooley.

James' Facebook page indicated he married Kanina Cusiter, a waitress he met in Las Vegas, in 1998. She had a son Garrett that James adopted.

He indicated a love of kayaking, motorcycles, camping, boating and "loving the Florida weather."

On her Facebook page, Kanina James posted: "Yesterday the (most) horrible thing that can happen happened to us. My husband was shot to death right in front of his little girl."

In a later post, she wrote, "DJ took Danielle down to the basket ball court to play and a man was out yelling at a boy on a skate board. The guy had a gun and I guess DJ tried to get the gun away and he was shot. Died instantly."