Damond Fiancé Pleads for Information, says 'Our Hearts are Broken'

July 18, 2017 07:01 AM

The fiancé of the woman fatally shot by Minneapolis police Saturday night said he is heartbroken and still waiting for more information from law enforcement on exactly what happened.

Justine Damond, a 40-year-old Australia native, was shot when two Minneapolis police officers responded to her 911 call regarding a possible sexual assault in the Fulton neighborhood just before 11:30 p.m.


The Hennepin County Medical Examiner issued a release Monday night that says Damond died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, and that the manner of death was a homicide. 

Don Damond, 50, had planned to marry Justine in August. Her maiden name is Justine Ruszczyk, but she had already begun using her fiancé's last name.

"Sadly for her family and I, we have received almost no information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived," Don Damond said in a short statement to the media Monday afternoon.

"We're heartbroken, and we're desperate for information," he added.

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Damond's death has made headlines not just in Minnesota, or the U.S., but in her native country as well. The graduate of Manly High School and the University of Sydney had moved to the U.S. to be with her fiancé.

RELATED: Fatal Shooting of Australian Woman by Minneapolis Officer Tops Headlines in her Native Land

Her parents still reside in Sydney.

"Our lives were forever changed from having known her," Don Damond said. "She was so kind and so darn funny. She made us all laugh with her great wit and humor. It's difficult to fathom how to go forward in my own life without her here."

Multiple sources confirmed to KSTP Monday morning that the identity of the officer who shot and killed her is Mohamed Noor. Noor joined the department in March 2015 and is currently assigned to the 5th Precinct in the southwest part of the city.

Digital Extra: Don Damond Addresses Media, Supporters

A source with direct knowledge of the shooting said Monday the officer shot Damond at least once, killing her. The source said that Noor was sitting in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting and reportedly shot across his partner -- identified by a source as Matthew Harrity -- who was the driver of the squad at the time.

Both officers have been placed on standard administrative leave and the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the incident.

RELATED: Community Seeks Answers after Fatal Shooting in SW Minneapolis

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

The release said those interviews have been requested and the officers are working with their attorneys to schedule them.

Monday's BCA release again stated the officers' body cameras were not turned on at the time and that squad video did not capture the incident. It added that the BCA investigation will not determine whether a law enforcement agency policy is violated.

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That, the release said, will be reviewed through the police department's internal affairs process.

Don Damond thanked friends and family in Minnesota and Australia for their support during a difficult time. He asked for people to respect his family's privacy in the days ahead.

"Our hearts are broken," he said. "We are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine."

Justine's family in Australia released a statement Monday through Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade:

"We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this happened."



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