Australian woman shot dead by Minneapolis police after calling to report possible crime

An Australian woman engaged to marry an American next month was shot and killed by a Minneapolis cop Saturday night after calling police to report an incident, leading her family and investigators to question what caused the deadly shooting.

The woman, identified as Justine Damond, 40, was killed in the late-night shooting in the city's Fulton neighborhood, Fox 9 reported. She reportedly had called to report an assault.

“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,” the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said in a news release. "At one point, an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman."

Police were trying to determine whether any video of the incident exists. The body cameras of the officers involved were not activated, according to police. No weapon was found at the scene. 

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know.”

- Zach Damond

Damond, an Australian national and instructor with the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, was engaged to be married in August and has a son, according to Fox 9. Her fiance, identified by the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, as Don Damond, was reportedly on his way home from a business trip.

Damond, whose maiden name was Ruszczyk but went by her fiance's last name, called police after hearing a sound in a nearby alley, according to their son, Zach Damond, 22.

“Basically, my mom’s dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach Damond told the Star-Tribune. “I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. I’m so done with all this violence.”

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, at a press conference Sunday, called the shooting "tragic." She released a lengthy statement urging people to be patient as as information on the shooting is being released. 

"You can rest assured that I will share any official updates I receive—with city officials, community stakeholders, and with you," Hodges said. 

Michelle Gross, from Communities United Against Police Brutality, released a statement on Damond's death. 

A post shared by @justinedamond on

"Sadly we now [mourn the life of] Justine, a white woman living in southwest Minneapolis--who simply notified the police about an assault she was concerned about," Gross said. "She was being a good neighbor! And she lost her life being a good neighbor."

Both officers were placed on administrative leave. 

The medical examiner's office will be conducting an autopsy. 

The shooting comes a year after a Minnesota officer shot Philando Castile, an elementary school cafeteria worker, several times during a traffic stop. The deadly police-involved shooting sparked nationwide outcry. The officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted and received $48,500 to leave the department. 

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