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Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 22, 2017

Minnesota probing Australian woman’s fatal shooting by police

Jul 17, 2017

MINNEAPOLIS (Reuters) — Officials in Minnesota today were investigating why an Australian woman was shot and killed over the weekend by a police officer responding to a call the woman made about a disturbance outside her home.

The mayor of Minneapolis called for a probe of why officers involved in the incident, which occurred around midnight Saturday, were not using the body cameras they are equipped with during the incident that led to the death of Justine Damond, from Sydney.

Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was “heartsick and deeply disturbed” by the shooting, after hundreds of people took to the streets to decry the death.

“I have a lot of questions about why the body cameras weren’t on, questions that I hope and anticipate will be answered in the next few days,” the mayor told a news conference on Sunday night.

The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said it was attempting to determine whether any video of the shooting exists.

Damond, also known as Justine Ruszczyk, had taken the name of her American fiance Don. She had originally studied to be a veterinarian but owned a meditation and life-coaching company in Minneapolis, according to her personal website. U.S. and Australian media gave her age as 40.

In a statement given to media in Sydney, family friend Julie Reed said the couple had been due to marry.

Zach Damond, who had already taken to calling his father’s future bride “mom,” told the Minneapolis Star Tribune she called the police because she heard a sound in the alley outside her house.

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” the newspaper quoted the son as saying. “I demand answers.”

The Star Tribune quoted three sources which it did not name as saying Damond was in her pajamas when a police car responding to her 911 call pulled into the alley.

She approached the driver’s side of the vehicle and was then shot through the door, the newspaper said.

In Sydney, members of the victim’s family said they were trying to come to terms with the tragedy.

Mayor Hodges and police said the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is handling the investigation, would release further information as soon as possible.

Both officers who responded to the 911 call have been placed on administrative leave, the Star Tribune quoted police as saying.

 

(Reporting by Chris Michaud and Gina Cherelus in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Tom Brown)

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