An Australian woman called 911 on Saturday night, as she suspected a sexual assault was taking place in a back alley near her home in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When police arrived, she was shot dead in her pajamas.
Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s interaction with Minneapolis police proved deadly. The department has yet to offer a motive into the shooting, as the matter is still “under investigation.”
Shortly before 11 p.m. on a Saturday night, two Minneapolis police officers arrived on the scene, responding to a potential assault. Both officers were wearing body-cams, but they were not on during their interaction with the now-deceased 40-year-old Australian woman.
The Minneapolis Star-Tribune newspaper reports that Damond was in her pajamas when she approached the vehicle to speak with an officer. Mohamad Noor of the Minneapolis Police Department allegedly discharged his weapon, effectively killing the Ms. Damond.
Damond was speaking to Noor’s partner at the time of the incident. He allegedly shot across his partner. Noor had been on the force for one year prior to the shooting.
“Three sources with knowledge of the incident said Sunday that two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door, sources confirmed. No weapon was found at the scene,” the Star Tribune reported.
Laurie Engel lives across the street from where Damond was killed. She didn’t hear the gunshot, but she witnessed the immediate aftermath.
“I was struck by the size of the body lying under the blanket there, I thought at first it must have been a child,” she said. “It was only later that I realized it was Justine, and it was such a shock. She didn’t deserve this to happen.”
More about the victim of this shooting
Damond has duel-citizenship in the United States and Australia. She was a trained veterinarian, a life coach, and a yoga instructor. She was also a finacée and a future stepmother. She was set to marry Don Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino, who was away on business at the time of shooting.
Justine’s soon-to-be stepson Zach Damond is shocked over the shooting. If he could tell that officer anything at all, it would be…“Why? Why would you do this? He has no idea the impact that he has on thousands of people. No idea.
“But I hope that he wakes up every single day and thinks about it. And then I hope that he thinks about how he can be a better person because that’s what she did every single day. And if you don’t do that, you’re not even living either.”
“Basically my mum’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” said Zach. “America sucks.”