Source: Cops Thought They Were Caught in Ambush

July 19, 2017 11:07 AM

The two officers involved in the shooting of a 40-year-old woman in south Minneapolis Saturday night thought they were caught in an ambush seconds before the deadly shot was fired, according to a 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS source.

That source says Officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor were startled when someone pounded loudly on their SUV in an alley off of 51st Street near Justine Damond's home.

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Damond died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen after Noor discharged his weapon, according to the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The officers had responded to a report of a possible assault. After not noticing any activity, they were dispatched to another call when a young man rode past on a bicyle along 51st Street. As the officers watched the bicyclist cross the passenger side of the vehicle, they heard the pounding noise on the driver's side, the source said.

Harrity, who was driving, told BCA investigators that "Officer Noor discharged his weapon" from the passenger side of the vehicle.

Noor had his gun in his lap at the time, according to the source.

The source said the bicyclist stopped at the scene after the shooting and videotaped the aftermath.

An officer administered CPR for four-minutes, according to an incident report obtained by 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS. Damond died at the scene.

Portions of Harrity's statements were made public Tuesday night as the BCA began releasing pieces of its own investigation.

Tom Plunkett, Noor's attorney, would not say if or when an interview with Noor would be possible, the BCA said.

The BCA investigative findings also mentioned the bicyclist, whom the agency said had stopped at the scene and watched as the officers provided medical assistance. The agency made no mention of a videotape, nor did it provide details about how close the bicyclist came to the squad in the release of its preliminary findings.

Timeline of Fatal SW Minneapolis Shooting 

As KSTP reported Monday, Noor has had three complaints filed against him. City records show one complaint was dismissed with no disciplinary action, and that the other two remain open.   

Records show Harrity has one open complaint on file. 

Noor is the first Somali-American officer assigned to the 5th Precinct. He has a degree in business administration and economics from Augsburg College.

Both officers have been placed on paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure in such a shooting.  

According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, there have been 10 officer-involved shootings in 2017 so far in Minnesota. Those shootings include both fatal and non-fatal incidents. The BCA has investigated nine of those 10 incidents.

RELATED: Officer Identified as Firing Fatal Shot Has 3 Complaints on File, City Records Show

Meanwhile, there were 13 deaths from officer-involved shootings in 2016, 13 in 2015 and seven in 2014.

The BCA said the investigation into the incident continues and that additional details will be provided once interviews are complete.

The officers' body cameras were not turned on at the time and that squad video did not capture the incident. The BCA has said its investigation will not determine whether a law enforcement agency policy was violated. MPD Internal Affairs would make that determination.

Credits

Joe Augustine and Michael Oakes

Copyright 2017 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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