On July 15, Justine Ruszczyk, an Australian woman, called 911 after hearing what she thought was the sound of a girl in distress in an alley.
Police officers Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor responded to the scene. According to Harrity, Ruszczyk approached the squad car while its lights were off. It’s unclear what happened next other than the fact that Noor fired his weapon at Ruszczyk, striking her in the abdomen. Ruszczyk was dead within 10 minutes. Both officers’ body cameras were off during the time of the incident.
The case has sparked a massive amount of controversy and left a lot of unanswered questions. Noor hasn’t responded to any media outlets’ questions for comment, either.
The shooting of Ruszczyk has been declared a homicide by the medical examiner on the case. And Noor has retained an attorney to represent him, but no official statements have been released regarding Noor’s personal view on the issue.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau spoke at a press conference on Thursday, where she said Ruszczyk didn’t have to die.
According to the Star Tribune:
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau on Thursday called the shooting death of Justine Damond “unnecessary” and bluntly said it contradicted the mission and training given to her officers.
“Justine didn’t have to die,” Harteau said.
In her first public appearance since the Saturday shooting, Harteau said that based on what is publicly known about the case, there is no justification for officer Mohamed Noor’s decision to shoot Damond.
Damond was the name Ruszczyk planned to take on before being killed by Noor. Her fiancé was Don Damond.
On Friday, Harteau announced her resignation as Minneapolis police chief after being asked to step down by Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges.
Harteau said, in part, via CNN:
“Last Saturday’s tragedy, as well as some other recent incidents, have caused me to engage in deep reflection. […] I’ve decided I am willing to step aside to let a fresh set of leadership eyes see what more can be done for the MPD to be the very best it can be.”
Since the shooting, both Noor and Harrity have been placed on leave. Time will tell what the investigation into the tragedy finds.