By Shayna Jacobs
MANHATTAN CRIMINAL COURT — An off-duty police officer charged with shooting her domestic partner during a dispute over a text message was "justified" when she opened fire, her lawyer said Tuesday.
Edgar De Leon, attorney for Ekeythia Dunston, 32, who is assigned to the 108th Precinct in Queens, said his client was defending herself from her girlfriend, Erica LeGall, 42, who hit her with an iron.
"She was going to get her head cracked open," said De Leon. "This was a justified shooting. She was severely assaulted with an iron."
Dunston, who has been with the NYPD for eight years, is reportedly the niece of former New York Mets shortstop Shawon Dunston.
News sources reported that the fight started after Dunston got a text message from another woman.
The two women argued as LeGall's son Jayleen, 7, and Dunston's son Daichoi, 13, slept in their room. The couple's 32-year-old babysitter was also in the apartment, but was not harmed, police said.
Prosecutors said Dunston shot LeGall twice using her her NYPD-assigned revolver at about 3 a.m. on Monday in their apartment at 60 West 128th St.
LeGall is being treated at Harlem Hospital. Dunston was treated for injuries including a gash in her head, De Leon said at her criminal court arraignment.
Dunston was reportedly suspended from duty. She was released on $1,000 bail on Tuesday after she was arraigned on one charge of first-degree assault.
Prosecutors said charges have not been filed against LeGall, who underwent surgery, according to the criminal complaint.
De Leon said Dunston intends to press charges against her girlfriend.