Minnesota officer offers condolences to family of slain Australian woman

Photo: Justine Damond/MGN

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Latest on the fatal shooting of an Australian woman by police in Minneapolis:

6:20 p.m.

Justine Damond's death is front page news in her Sydney hometown newspaper The Daily Telegraph, which reported the tragedy under the headline: "American Nightmare."

The newspaper reports that she graduated at Sydney University as a veterinary surgeon before her love of meditation and yoga overtook her career.

Sydney friend Marcus Ritchie told The Australian newspaper that Damond was "one of the world's most caring and sensitive souls." The Sydney-based national newspaper also reported the police shooting on its front page.


4:35 p.m.

The Minnesota police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman is offering condolences to her family.

Mohamed Noor was identified by his attorney earlier Monday as the Minneapolis officer who fired the shots that killed Justine Damond. Damond's fiancé says she had called 911 Saturday night to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind their house.

Soon after, she was shot.

In a statement to WCCO-TV, the Somali-American officer says he came to the U.S. at a young age and appreciates the opportunities he's gotten. He says he considers being a police officer a calling, and became one to serve and protect the community.

Noor's attorney hasn't returned calls from The Associated Press.

Damond's death is being investigated by Minnesota's state investigative agency.


4:15 p.m.

The fiancé of an Australian woman who died at the hands of Minnesota police says he and her family have been given almost no information about what happened.

Don Damond says Justine Damond had called 911 Saturday night to report what she thought was an active sexual assault occurring nearby. Justine Damond was shot to death by one of the responding officers.

Damond says he and the family are "desperate for information." He says "piecing together Justine's last moments" would be "a small comfort."

Justine Damond had already taken Damond's last name professionally ahead of their wedding. The shooting is being investigated by Minnesota's state investigative agency.


2:45 p.m.

Local media are identifying the Minnesota police officer who shot and killed an Australian woman over the weekend as Mohamed Noor.

Justine Damond died late Saturday night in southwest Minneapolis shortly after family members say she called 911 to report a possible assault in the alley near her house.

Authorities haven't identified the officers involved yet. But WCCO-TV, citing his attorney Tom Plunkett, identified the officer who fired his weapon as Noor. The Minneapolis Star Tribune and KSTP-TV, citing unidentified sources, also identified the officer as Noor.

Noor is a Somali-American officer who joined the department two years ago.


2:20 p.m.

A Minnesota police chief says she's asked for a fast investigation into the death of an Australian woman who was shot by police.

Minneapolis police Chief Janee Harteau says the death of Justine Damond is tragic. The 40-year-old Damond was shot to death Saturday night by responding officers shortly after family members say she called 911 to report a possible assault.

Harteau said Monday that she has "many of the same questions" as Damond's family and community members are asking about the shooting. She says that's why she immediately asked for an outside investigation.

The two officers involved did not have their body cameras turned on at the time.


1:50 p.m.

A Minnesota prosecutor says the two police officers who were involved in a shooting that killed an Australian woman in Minneapolis should have had their body cameras turned on.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman is the man who would determine whether either officer should be charged in the weekend shooting of Justine Damond.

The 40-year-old woman died late Saturday night. Family members say she was shot in an alley shortly after calling 911 to report a possible assault.

Freeman wouldn't comment on the broader case, which is being investigated by the state. But he says they should have switched on their cameras when they were approached by Damond in the alley.


12 p.m.

Relatives of an Australian woman who was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis say they've lost "a loving free spirit."

Justine Damond was shot by an officer late Saturday night. The officer was responding to a 911 call about a possible assault. It's not clear what led to the shooting, which is being investigated by state authorities.

Damond spent some of her early childhood years in the Buffalo, New York, area. Peter Suffoletto, whose cousin John Ruszczyk is Damond's father, said she held dual Australian-U.S. citizenship and frequently returned to visit.

Suffoletto called Damond "a wonderful person that is lost." He said the family is beyond devastated and can't believe what happened.

Damond worked as a personal health and life coach and was engaged to be married.


3:16 a.m.

The family of an Australian woman who was shot and killed by police in Minneapolis says they're trying to understand why it happened.

In a statement released by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the family of the woman - who Minneapolis authorities haven't identified yet - say this is a difficult time.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a statement Sunday saying two Minneapolis officers responded to a 911 call for a potential assault late Saturday. Exact details weren't released but officials say an officer at some point fired a gun, killing the woman.

Officials say the officers' body cameras weren't turned on and a squad camera didn't capture the shooting.

Friends and relatives tell the Star Tribune the woman was 40 years old and worked as a spiritual healer.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges says she's "heartsick" and "deeply disturbed" by what occurred.

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