Detective Russell Lee Kuster

Detective Russell Lee Kuster

Los Angeles Police Department, California

End of Watch Tuesday, October 9, 1990

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Russell Lee Kuster

Detective Russell Kuster was shot and killed when he attempted to stop a man who was waving a handgun in a restaurant. The suspect had gotten into an argument with the owner and left.

The man re-entered the bar with a 9 mm handgun and started waving it in the air. Detective Kuster, who was off duty and in the restaurant, was identified as a police officer by one of the restaurant employees. As Detective Kuster tried to talk the man into putting the gun down, the man opened fire, striking him in the chest and knees. Despite being mortally wounded, Detective Kuster was able to return fire and killed the suspect.

Detective Kuster had served with the Los Angeles Police Department for 24.5 years. He is survived by his wife, parents, and two brothers.


  • Age 50
  • Tour 24 years, 6 months
  • Badge 12884

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Shot and killed

off duty

Most Recent Reflection

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I worked a case with Russ in the early 1970s. I was a detective in the Burglary/Robbery Division with the St. Louis P.D. at the time and Russ was not in Homicide as yet. I think he was a detective in the Crime Against Property Unit out of the Hollywood Division. My partner and I arrested a couple of perps who had committed several burglaries and auto thefts in L.A. and in Las Vagas. We recovered some of the stolen items from the L.A. case and a car stolen in Las Vagas. Russ and his partner came to St. Louis to pick up the prisoners and transport them back to L.A. Of course, the four of us partied while waiting for the extradition paperwork to be completed. Later my partner and I flew to L.A. to testify in the case. Russ and his partner took us out on the town and we celebrated the successful convictions. Later the next year my wife and I were traveling through L.A. and we stopped and enjoyed an evening with Russ. Russ was a great detective and a wonderful man. I never have forgotten him! RIP buddy!

Chief Neil F. Kurlander (Ret.)
St. Louis Metro. P.D. and the Maryland Heights, MO P.D.

February 2, 2023

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