Father, fiancé mourn woman shot by police
MINNEAPOLIS» The father and the fiance of an Australian woman shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer responding to her 911 call grieved at a public memorial service Friday night, the same time the family had planned to be on a plane to her wedding.
Justine Damond’s father, John Ruszczyk, choked back tears as he vowed to find justice for his 40year-old daughter, whom he described as being “ripped from our arms.”
“We should be walking down the street smiling and laughing,” he said of his first visit to Minneapolis. “But now every step on the foot path is very painful. I feel crushed by sorrow.”
Hundreds of people attended the memorial service. An Australian flag was displayed prominently on the stage next to Damond’s picture.
Her fiance, Don Damond, said it “felt like a privilege to love Justine.” They were getting married next week in Hawaii, and he pointed out the painful irony that the service — held at a lakefront stage near her home in southwest Minneapolis — coincided with the family’s original travel plans.
He read some of the uplifting messages she would free-write every morning and called her a “living example of self-mastery.”
“I have immense gratitude for being the one she chose,” Don Damond said. “In Australia, they call it ‘you’re punching above your weight.’ I really had to step up to be at her level.”
Her family has set up the Justine Damond Social Justice Fund, which will support causes important to her, including those promoting equal treatment for all.
With the investigation moving forward, A judge approved a search warrant to examine the smartphones of two Minneapolis police officers in the shooting.