Agency talking to witness in Minnesota shooting
MINNEAPOLIS — A witness who was nearby when Justine Damond was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer has been located and is cooperating, according to state investigators.
The witness, who was seen bicycling in the area immediately before the shooting and who stopped and watched officers perform CPR, “has been cooperative and provided an interview today,” according to a news release from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.
A source with direct knowledge of the investigation said the witness filmed part of the encounter.
The agency asked anyone else who may have witnessed the July 15 shooting to step forward.
The agency made a plea for the witness to come forward on Tuesday, after revealing preliminary evidence based on a four-hour interview with officer Matthew Harrity. Officer Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed Damond, still has not provided a statement to investigators, the agency said.
“Officer Noor’s attorney has not provided any update about when, if ever, an interview would be possible,” the agency said. “Under the law, the [Bureau of Criminal Apprehension] cannot compel the testimony of the officer.”
Noor’s attorney, Thomas Plunkett, has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Damond, 40, a spiritual healer from Australia, was shot by Noor after police responded at 11:30 p.m. to a 911 call she made about a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her southwest Minneapolis home.
Harrity told Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigators that the officers were driving south through the alley with the squad car’s lights turned off. At the moment they reached the end of the alley he heard a “loud sound” and that Damond approached the driver’s-side window “immediately afterward.” Noor, who was in the passenger seat, fired past Harrity through the open window, striking Damond in the abdomen. She died 20 minutes later.
The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said forensic testing continues while evidence is being examined and that Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, whose office will make the decision on whether to charge Noor, is being updated. The bureau noted that it is common for prosecutors to request follow-up information when reviewing a case.
No further updates are planned until the case is forwarded to the county attorney, the agency said.
Public data in the investigative file will be released when the case is closed.