When 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond called 911, she was expecting police to come and offer help, but instead, the pajama-clad woman was shot and killed as she stood in her own driveway. She was at the police car and talking to the officers through the vehicle’s driver-side window. It wasn’t the officer sitting behind the wheel of the police car who fired the fatal shot through the window, killing Damond, it was his partner who allegedly fired off that shot.
The shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. The 911 call came from the woman who ended up as the shooting victim in this horrific tragedy. She reported a possible assault in the alley of the Fulton neighborhood where she lived. Damond had heard a noise, prompting her to make that call.
The partner of the cop at the wheel was sitting on the passenger side in the front seat when he fired off “shots,” according to reports. While the reports of more than one shot being fired have not been officially confirmed by police, according to KSTP News, there were multiple shots fired at the woman allegedly by the officer sitting in the passenger seat of the police car. This means that the bullet or bullets had to narrowly fly by the cop in the driver’s seat to make it out the window, to where Damond was shot and killed, according to reports.
According to NBC News, The officer who reportedly fired the fatal shot that killed Ruszczyk-Damond was identified Monday afternoon as Mohammed Noor, which was reported by multiple police sources to KARE, a local NBC News affiliate station. Noor was celebrated last year as the first Samlia-born officer on the Minneapolis Police Force. According to sources, he joined the force in 2015.
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) July 17, 2017
In 2016 Mayor Betsy Hodges called Noor’s assignment to the police force a “wonderful sign of building trust and community policing at work.” From all reports, Noor did his job well, but what happened?
Confirmed through police sources the MPD officer who killed Justine Damond is Mohamed Noor, who joined the force in March 2015. pic.twitter.com/85luKmVQse
— Lou Raguse (@LouRaguse) July 17, 2017
According to the sources who KARE spoke with, “Noor shot across his partner.” This left his partner “stunned” over what he had just done. The Minneapolis Police Department’s Twitter Page has a statement posted by Police Chief Janee’ Harteau, who assures the public that she understands their frustration and that their questions regarding this shooting are a lot of the same questions that she has.
According to KSTP News, Noor had three complaints on file with the city. One was dismissed without disciplinary action, but the other two are still open. There is no information on what type of complaints were filed against Noor.
The police chief said she “acknowledged the pain and frustration that family and community members felt after the shooting.” According to KARE she continued,
“I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death,” Harteau said.
“I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.”
Justine Ruszczyk Damond called the police because she heard a noise coming from the backyard of the house, this is what her stepson told reporters. Zach Damond broke down in tears as he spoke on a Facebook Live video that he posted. He said the following on the video.
“My mom is dead, because a police officer shot her, for reasons I don’t know, and I demand answers. I guess she thought that something bad was happening and, next thing I know, they take my best friends life.”
You can see Zach Damond speaking to the reporter here on the Facebook Live video. Justin Ruszczyk was originally from Australia. She had already changed her surname to her fiancee’s name “Damon” ahead of their wedding. The couple was due to be married next month.
Justine lived with John Damond in Minneapolis. Her fiancee was away on business, but immediately returned home after he was notified of the shooting death of the woman he was to marry. You can see John Damond speaking to the crowd of reporters in the video below.
There is much mystery still surrounding the shooting death of this woman. Neither officer had their body cams turned on and the police car’s dash cam did not record the incident either. “Both officers have been placed on standard administrative leave,” according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety.
People from all over the U.S. and in Australia as well, want to know what happened, how did this go so wrong? This afternoon a statement by the police officer identified as the officer to allegedly fire the fatal shot in this incident released a statement. The statement falls short of giving any explanations as to what occurred as a precursor to the shots being fired. Police Officer Noor’s attorney Tom Plunkett posted a statement on behalf of Noor on Monday afternoon.
“Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers,” the statement read.
“He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities. He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling. 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 current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling. We would like to say more, and will in the future. At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.”
[Featured Image by Schmidt Alex/Shutterstock]