October 9, 2023
Birch Bay, Washington
Thirty-three years ago today, my friend and partner, Detective III Russell Lee Kuster, was slain in a restaurant shooting by a psychopath while off duty and having drinks at a Hungarian Restaurant on Barham Blvd in the Hollywood Hills.
I was three years into retirement and living in Bellingham, Washington, when I received the 3 a.m. notification. I wrote the below eulogy the following morning and faxed it to Hollywood Detectives. It was read at Russ’s funeral services back in 1990. Below is a recording of me reading it at the 2010 police memorial services (20th Anniversary of Russ’ murder) held in front of Hollywood Station, honoring all the Hollywood Division officers killed in the line of duty.
In happier times.
Here are some photos of Russ, my Detective III supervisor, congratulating me at my own promotion party to Detective III, in 1983. After my promotion, I was transferred to Rampart Detectives for the last three years of my career before retirement in 1986. (Hence the headline, “Hodel Fools Rampart Lieutenant.”)
One of the promotional gifts was a personalized message of congratulations from “Dirty Harry” (Clint Eastwood).
“Congrats to Dirty Steve from Dirty Harry.”
Note the “Rubber Duckie” in the bottom right of the photograph.
It remains one of my prized gifts from that night. There were actually four Rubber Duckies on a board, three facing forward and the fourth facing backward. The message, “Detective Hodel doesn’t walk with the rest of the ducks.” Loved it!
Here is a Performance Evaluation Russ wrote on me way back in 1979, some four years before I was promoted to Detective III.
Russ Kuster, Ian Campbell (“The Onion Field”), Robert Cote, and other Hollywood officers killed in the line of duty were honored with their own star on Hollywood Blvd.
REST IN PEACE ROY!