Published: Tue, July 18, 2017
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Australian woman shot dead by cop in US

Australian woman shot dead by cop in US

Justine Damond's birth name was "Ruszczyk" but she had already taken the last name of her fiance, Don Damond, 50. Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk.

Justine Damond, previously known as Justine Ruszczyk, was shot through the door of a squad vehicle after she had gone outside in her pyjamas, it is claimed.

The Star Tribune quoted three sources it did not name as saying Damond was in her pyjamas when the police auto responding to her 911 call pulled into the alley.

The death comes amidst heightened tensions over police shootings in Minnesota following the recent high-profile acquittal of the police officer who fatally shot black man Philando Castile during a traffic stop.

While details around the incident are still scare, Minneapolis Police has released a statement explaining how the situation unfolded.

"Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists".

The officer who shot the woman was under investigation by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which was interviewing witnesses and "incident participants". Not only were both police officers' body cameras turned off turning the shooting that took place around 11:30 p.m. on Saturday evening, but the squad car's camera also did not record the shooting.

Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis, addressed Damond's killing in a statement on Facebook. The BCA didn't say which officer shot Damond or how many shots were fired.

No weapon was discovered at the scene of the shooting.

"It is hard and challenging to have few facts at this point", Hodges said at the press conference.

Ms Damond’s family and friends held a dawn vigil at Freshwater Beach
Ms Damond’s family and friends held a dawn vigil at Freshwater Beach

Damond's workplace described her "one of the most loving people you would ever meet".

According to her stepson Zach, Justine called the police after hearing a disturbing noise outside of her home late Saturday night. The friend said that Justine often spoke of how much better things were in her native Australia where gun restrictions are much tighter. "I'm so done with all this violence", he added. "This is so much bullshit. America sucks", he said.

Damond's website says she was a yoga instructor, a personal health and life coach and a "meditation teacher, embracing and teaching the neuro-scientific benefits of meditation".

Investigators said the squad auto video was on but didn't capture what happened at the scene.

She was loved. And she should be alive.

BuzzFeed News reached out to Damond's fiancee and son in Minnesota. The couple were due to get married next month, the paper reported.

"This is a very hard time for our family", the Ruszczyk family said in a statement.

"We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this has happened", her family said in a statement.

Birkholz said through her classes, Damond could help people work their way through illnesses and other life problems with the help of meditation. The woman, wearing pajamas, approached the driver's side door and was talking to the driver, reported the Star Tribune.

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