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Unarmed woman shot dead by Minneapolis police after calling 911 for help

By
Ray Downs
Justine Damond, 40, was shot by Minneapolis police on July 15. Photo by Justine Damond/Facebook
Justine Damond, 40, was shot by Minneapolis police on July 15. Photo by Justine Damond/Facebook

July 17 (UPI) -- Minneapolis police shot and killed an unarmed Australian woman who had called 911 to report a suspicious noise in the alley behind her home.

Justine Damond, 40, was killed Saturday night in Minneapolis' Fulton neighborhood. The police officer who shot her was wearing a body camera, but officials said the camera was not on at the time of the shooting.

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The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that Damond called 911 to report a suspicious noise. Police arrived and Damond went to meet the officers. As she spoke to the officer in the driver seat, the officer in the passenger seat pulled out his gun and shot her. Police have not explained what prompted the shooting. Damond did not have a weapon.

"The BCA's investigation is in its early stages. More information will be available once initial interviews with incident participants and any witnesses are complete...The officers' body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists," the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release.

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Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said the shooting was "tragic."

"We have few facts at this point," she said. "I want to know more. I call on the BCA to share as much information with all of us as quickly as they can.

"I have questions about why the bodycams weren't on."

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Damond, a trained veterinarian who also worked as a yoga instructor and life coach, was planning to marry her fiancee next month. Her maiden name was Ruszczyk but she went by Damond.

Her stepson, 22-year-old Zac Damond, criticized what he described as a lack of transparency from the Minneapolis Police Department about the investigation.

"My mom is dead because the police officer shot her for reasons I don't know and I demand answers," he said. "And if anybody can help just call the police and demand answers. I'm so done with all this violence. It's so much bull[expletive]. America sucks. These cops need to be trained differently."

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