REL­A­TIVES DE­MAND AN­SWERS IN FA­TAL MIN­NESOTA PO­LICE SHOOT­ING

A bride-to-be re­port­edly was killed by an of­fi­cer who fired from the pas­sen­ger seat of a squad car as the woman stood out­side the driver’s door.

The Denver Post - - FRONT PAGE - By Amy Forliti

MIN­NEAPO­LIS» Rel­a­tives and neigh­bors of an Aus­tralian woman fa­tally shot by Min­neapo­lis po­lice dur­ing the week­end de­manded an­swers Mon­day about the mys­te­ri­ous shoot­ing in which the med­i­ta­tion teacher and bride-to-be was re­port­edly killed by an of­fi­cer who fired from the pas­sen­ger seat of a squad car as the woman stood out­side the driver’s door.

Au­thor­i­ties re­leased no de­tails about what led to the shoot­ing of Jus­tine Da­mond, whose fi­ance said she had called 911 to re­port what she be­lieved was a sex­ual as­sault in an al­ley near her home.

Po­lice said only that of­fi­cers were re­spond­ing to a call about a pos­si­ble as­sault late Satur­day when she was killed. There were no known wit­nesses other than the two of­fi­cers in the squad car that showed up. A news­pa­per re­port said Da­mond was shot while stand­ing along­side the car in her pa­ja­mas.

Her fi­ancé, Don Da­mond, said the fam­ily has been given al­most no ad­di­tional in­for­ma­tion about what hap­pened af­ter po­lice ar­rived.

“We’ve lost the dear­est of peo­ple, and we’re des­per­ate for in­for­ma­tion,” he said. “Piec­ing to­gether Jus­tine’s last mo­ments be­fore the homi­cide would be a small com­fort as we grieve this tragedy.”

Da­mond’s fam­ily mem­bers in Aus­tralia also re­leased a state­ment Mon­day through Aus­tralia’s De­part­ment of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade, say­ing they “are try­ing to come to terms with this tragedy and to un­der- stand why this has hap­pened.”

Au­thor­i­ties did not re­lease the woman’s name, but the Star Tri­bune iden­ti­fied her as Da­mond, from Syd­ney, Aus­tralia. The news­pa­per re­ported that she was en­gaged to be mar­ried in Au­gust and was us­ing her fi­ancé’s last name. Her maiden name was Jus­tine Ruszczyk.

Al­most two days af­ter her death, po­lice of­fered no pub­lic ex­pla­na­tion and re­ferred ques­tions to the state’s Bureau of Crim­i­nal Ap­pre­hen­sion, which was in­ves­ti­gat­ing. A Mon­day state­ment from the BCA said more in­for­ma­tion would be pro­vided once the of­fi­cers were in­ter­viewed.

The BCA said Mon­day that no weapons were found at the scene.

Lo­cal me­dia iden­ti­fied the of­fi­cer who fired as Mo­hamed Noor, who is a So­ma­l­iAmer­i­can. A city newslet­ter said he joined the po­lice de­part­ment in March 2015.

His at­tor­ney, Tom Plun­kett, re­leased a state­ment say­ing Noor of­fered his con­do­lences to the fam­ily “and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers.”

The state­ment added: “He joined the po­lice force to serve the com­mu­nity and to pro­tect the peo­ple he serves. Of­fi­cer Noor is a car­ing per­son with a fam­ily he loves, and he em­pathizes with the loss oth­ers are ex­pe­ri­enc­ing.”

The Star Tri­bune, cit­ing three peo­ple with knowl­edge of the shoot­ing it did not name, said the of­fi­cers pulled into the al­ley in a sin­gle squad car, and Da­mond talked to the driver. The news­pa­per’s sources said the of­fi­cer in the pas­sen­ger seat shot Da­mond through the driver’s door. A BCA spokes­woman did not re­turn mes­sages seek­ing to con­firm that ac­count.

Neigh­bor Joan Har­grave called the killing “an ex­e­cu­tion” and said there was no rea­son for a well-trained of­fi­cer to see Da­mond as a threat.

“This is a tragedy — that some­one who’s ask­ing for help would call the po­lice and get shot by the po­lice,” Har­grave said.

El­iz­a­beth Flores, Star Tri­bune

Don Da­mond is com­forted by friends and fam­ily af­ter mak­ing a state­ment to the me­dia near his home. His fi­ancée was shot and killed by a bul­let fired by an of­fi­cer through the door of Min­neapo­lis squad car dur­ing the week­end.

Stephen Govel, stephengovel.com

Jus­tine Da­mond of Syd­ney, Aus­tralia, was al­ready us­ing her fi­ancé’s last name.

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