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Shot dead as she approached police, Aussie killed in US

THE shocking final moments of how an Australian woman was shot dead by police in the US have been revealed.

Justine Damond, from Sydney, was killed by police in south Minneapolis on Saturday night.

According to the Star Tribune, three sources said Ms Damond was in her pyjamas when a police car responding to a 911 call pulled into the alley behind her family home in the city's Fulton neighbourhood.

Ms Damond, 40, approached the driver's side door in her pyjamas and spoke to the driver.

The officer in the passenger seat then shot Damond through the driver's side door, according to the publication.

No weapon was recovered at the scene.

Police did not have their body cameras turned on during the shooting.
Police did not have their body cameras turned on during the shooting.

 

The horrific development comes as family and friends of Ms Damond are demanding answers from authorities.

Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges said the incident has made her "heartsick".

Ms Damond, previously known as Justine Ruszczyk, died following an officer-involved shooting, according to Minneapolis police.

The shooting occurred on the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South in the city's Fulton neighbourhood.

The incident is the subject of an investigation but authorities have said the officers who responded to the 911 call did not have their body cameras turned on.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade says it's providing consular support to her family.

HOW THE SHOOTING UNFOLDED

Two officers responded to a 911 call about a possible assault in the alley off West 51st Street between Washburn and Xerxes Avenues around 11.30pm, according to a statement released Sunday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

"At one point one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman," the BCA said.

"Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists."

Minneapolis police say a program of issuing body cameras to all of its deployed officers was recently completed. The two officers involved have been placed on paid administrative leave.

"I'M DONE WITH ALL THIS VIOLENCE"

The dead woman's partner was Don Damond, vice president and manager of Little Six Casino in Minnesota.

His son Zach Damond said Ms Damond "heard a noise in the alley and called the police".

"She was out on 51st Street and she was shot," Zach said.

Mr Damond said the woman was "passionate" and his "best friend".

"Basically my mum was shot for reasons I don't know," Mr Damond said in a video posted on Facebook on Monday morning (AEST).

"I just know she heard a sound in the alley so then she called the police and the cops showed up and she was a very passionate woman.

"She probably thought something bad was happening and then next thing I know they take my best friend's life.

"I demand answers.

"If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I'm so done with all this violence. It's so much bulls**t. America sucks."

Minneapolis mayor Betsy Hodges said she intended to find out why the officers' body cameras were not turned on.

"As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night," she posted on Facebook.

Justine Damond pictured with her fiance Don Damond and stepson Zach.
Justine Damond pictured with her fiance Don Damond and stepson Zach. Facebook

 

SPIRITUAL HEALER

Ms Damond was to be married to Mr Damond, 50, in August, according to Hannah, a close family friend, the Star Tribune reports.

Hannah said Ms Damond, who had lived in Manly, worked as "a spiritual healer" and that "she was the most loving woman" who "kind of flowed through the house so lightly."

She said there was no way Ms Damond would have had a gun and had often talked about how things were better in Australia because of strict gun ownership laws.

Mr Damond was on a business trip and returned home Sunday afternoon after the tragedy occurred.

Ms. Damond is understood to have led meditation workshops at the nearby Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, which has posted a tribute to her on its Facebook page.

The shooting occurred on the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South in Minneapolis's Fulton neighbourhood.
The shooting occurred on the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South in Minneapolis's Fulton neighbourhood.

"We are so sad to report the tragic shooting of Justine Damond," the post said. "Justine was one of the most loving people you would ever meet. We can't even imagine LHSC with out her."

Activist Mel Reeves, organised a vigil at 6pm Sunday on 51st Street near where the shooting occurred.

Justine Diamond's personal website says she had originally trained as a vet, but has studied and practiced oga and meditation for more than 17 years.

It states she is a "qualified yoga instructor, personal health and life coach and meditation teacher, embracing and teaching the neuro-scientific benefits of meditation."

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy and release details, including the cause and manner of her death.

CAMERA QUESTIONS

Local media is reporting Minneapolis Police Department policy does not allow for the deactivation of police body cameras "for an arrest, DUI, Use of Force, traffic stop or a 'Significant Incident'."

The cameras are designed to activate automatically when officers respond to an incident, and officers are responsible for ensuring the cameras are functional before going on patrol.

Assistant Minneapolis police chief Medaria Arradondo confirmed that a $US4 million program to outfit all beat police with the cameras had been completed late last year.

How both cameras came to be deactivated during the Ms Diamond incident is raising eyebrows, as the shooting is exactly the type of event they were supposed to provide clear and impartial evidence for.

News Corp Australia

Topics:  body cameras dead editors picks justine damond minneapolis police shooting


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