Agency talk­ing to wit­ness in Min­nesota shoot­ing

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - NATIONAL -

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.

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