Justine Damond’s death outside of her Minneapolis home remains a mystery. She was shot by Officer Mohamed Noor from the passenger seat of a patrol car. Noor and his partner have both offered very little in the way of explanation for the event. Now there’s an update that may start to fill in the missing gaps in the story.
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Sources close to the investigation are pointing to the sound of fireworks as a possible trigger that spooked Noor. The Daily Mail, citing background sources, say that there were fireworks being shot off in the area. This is not atypical for July.
It is possible that Noor believed that the fireworks were gun shots. Radio transcripts from the call make reference to loud noises in the area.
As the Mail reports, “at one point the dispatcher asks for a precinct sergeant to acknowledge a report of ‘two shots heard from the east’.”
“We heard those sounds from the station,” an officer responds. “Those are probably aerial fireworks.”
The explanation may begin to explain the circumstances that led to the shooting, yet there are still many holes. Damond was reportedly talking with Noor’s partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, at the time she was shot. What transpired in the moments before the shooting are still unknown.
In an attempt to maintain transparency, The independent Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension will be handling the investigation.
“Officer Noor has declined to be interviewed by BCA agents at this time. Officer Noor’s attorney did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible,’ the BCA wrote in a press release Tuesday.
The Star Tribune, relying on inside information, describe the situation like this: “Three sources with knowledge of the incident said Sunday that two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver’s side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door, sources said. No weapon was found at the scene.”
The the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension were more reserved: “Two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue S. just before 11:30 p.m. Saturday. At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman.”
There is no footage of the incident. Both officer’s body camera were off, and the camera in the patrol car was off, too.
Damond, a 40-year-old from Sydney, Australia was living in the US. She was supposed to marry an American, Don Damond, in August, and had already been using his name (she also uses the name Justine Ruszczyk). Her soon-to-be-husband and his son were not home Saturday.
“Basically my mom’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.”
Damond’s website described her as a “corporate speaker, trainer and coach” who sought spiritual health for her clients.
There was no weapon recovered from the scene, suggesting Damond was not armed. Officer Noor, in the passenger seat, reportedly drew his gun and fired across his partner. Noor has hired an attorney and is refusing to be interviewed.