An Australian woman has been shot dead by police in South Minneapolis, U.S
17 Jul 2017, 21:26 ( 1 Month ago) | updated: 17 Jul 2017, 21:44 ( 1 Month ago)
An Australian woman was dressed in her pyjamas when American police gunned her down, harrowing new details surrounding her death have revealed.Justine Damond, who also uses the name Justine Ruszczyk, was at home on Saturday night when she called 911 to report a noise and a possible assault in an alley in South Minneapolis, Minnesota.While police did not have body cameras switched on during the shooting, sources with knowledge of the incident claim the officers arrived at the alley at 11.30pm on Saturday night.Ms Damond reportedly walked up to the car and began talking to the driver when an officer in the passenger seat pulled a gun and shot her through the drivers side door. No weapon was discovered at the scene, the Star Tribune reports.
The 40-year-old was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was due to marry American businessman Don Damond, 50, in August. At the time of the shooting Mr Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino was away on business.Her soon-to-be stepson Zach was reportedly also not at the home on Saturday night, returning on Sunday to discover the crime scene.And just hours after the shooting he spoke to a local activist group, slamming police over the death of Ms Damond - who he called his 'best friend'. Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' Zach Damond said.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.She was a very passionate woman, she thought something bad was happening - and next thing you know they take my best friend's life.'
Ms Damond's Australian-based family released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday afternoon.
Her friend Matt Omo, an Australian, told the ABC he hoped something positive could come from the tragedy.I only hope this evolves into something that can make a positive impact for the world,' he said. In a statement, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said an investigation was in its early stages, but that police did not have their body cameras on during the incident.Both officers involved in the shooting have been forced to take paid administrative leave, as is standard procedure following similar incidents. Less than a week earlier it was revealed that officers across the city were using body cameras at what appeared to be a low amounts, despite their high-profile roll out. Under Minneapolis Police Department policy, officers 'should manually activate their PVR (portable video recorder) to Record Mode when reasonably safe and practical' in situations including 'suspicious person stops' and 'crimes in progress'. Originally trained as a vet at the University of Sydney, she was 'supporting individuals and organizations to discover the power and potential within their own brains and hearts.'Ms Damond regularly held sessions at the Lake Harriet Spritual Centre, with many of her talks recorded and uploaded to YouTube. She grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, with her father John the owner of a Dymocks bookstore at Warringah Mall and a prominent member of the community. This woman was a beautiful light, she was a healer, she was loved, she should be alive - she should still be here,' one friend said.