Home | News | Australian woman, 40, shot dead by police in Minnesota World | Australian woman, 40, shot dead by police in Minnesota
❰❰ Woman Dies At Grand Canyon After Posting Picture On Instagram
Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's Bel Air home is targeted ❱❱

Australian woman, 40, shot dead by police in Minnesota



  • An Australian woman has been shot dead by police in South Minneapolis, U.S 
  • Justine Damond called 911 on Saturday night to report a possible assault nearby
  • Police say: 'At one point one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman'
  • Sources claim Ms Damond was wearing her pyjamas when she was shot dead
  • When a police patrol car arrived in the alley she approached and was the shot 
  • The 40-year-old from Sydney was engaged to an American man and lived in US
  • She used her fiance's surname as well as going by the name Justine Ruszczyk 
  • Her soon-to-be stepson Zach Damond has slammed police for killing his mother
  • 'Mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' he said

By Josh Hanrahan For Dailymail.com

Published: 19:02 EDT, 16 July 2017 | Updated: 03:49 EDT, 17 July 2017

  • e-mail
3.7k shares

756

View
comments

An Australian woman was dressed in her pyjamas when American police gunned her down, harrowing new details surrounding her death have revealed.

Justine Damond, who also uses the name Justine Ruszczyk, was at home on Saturday night when she called 911 to report a noise and a possible assault in an alley in South Minneapolis, Minnesota.

While police did not have body cameras switched on during the shooting, sources with knowledge of the incident claim the officers arrived at the alley at 11.30pm on Saturday night.

Ms Damond reportedly walked up to the car and began talking to the driver when an officer in the passenger seat pulled a gun and shot her through the drivers side door. No weapon was discovered at the scene, the Star Tribune reports.

The 40-year-old was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was due to marry American businessman Don Damond, 50, next month. 

Scroll down for video 

Justine Damond (pictured) was shot dead in her pyjamas by police in the United States, after calling 911 to report a disturbance in an alley near her home at South Minneapolis, Minnesota
Justine Damond (pictured) was shot dead in her pyjamas by police in the United States, after calling 911 to report a disturbance in an alley near her home at South Minneapolis, Minnesota

Justine Damond (pictured) was shot dead in her pyjamas by police in the United States, after calling 911 to report a disturbance in an alley near her home at South Minneapolis, Minnesota

Ms Ruszczyk, 40, was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was engaged to marry American businessman Don Damond (right), 50, next month
Ms Ruszczyk, 40, was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was engaged to marry American businessman Don Damond (right), 50, next month

Ms Ruszczyk, 40, was originally from Sydney but had been living in the US for three years and was engaged to marry American businessman Don Damond (right), 50, next month

Shattered friends said the woman and her fiance were due to marry next month, with Ms Damond already using her husband's surname on her website.

At the time of the shooting Mr Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino was away on business.

Her soon-to-be stepson Zach was reportedly also not at the home on Saturday night, returning on Sunday to discover the crime scene.

And just hours after the shooting he spoke to a local activist group, slamming police over the death of Ms Damond - who he called his 'best friend'.

'Basically my mum'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.'

Ms Damond's Australian-based family released a statement through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Monday afternoon. 

Ms Damond was with her soon-to-be stepson when she called police to report a noise in an alley near her home in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday
Ms Damond was with her soon-to-be stepson when she called police to report a noise in an alley near her home in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday

Ms Damond was with her soon-to-be stepson when she called police to report a noise in an alley near her home in South Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Saturday

When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway
When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway

When police arrived at her home at around 11.30pm, 'one officer fired their weapon, fatally striking the woman' as she reportedly stood in her driveway

Just hours after the shooting Zach Damond (pictured), her heartbroken soon-to-be stepson, spoke with close friends of the woman and slammed police over her death
Just hours after the shooting Zach Damond (pictured), her heartbroken soon-to-be stepson, spoke with close friends of the woman and slammed police over her death
'Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' he said
'Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know,' he said

Just hours after the shooting Zach Damond (pictured), her heartbroken soon-to-be stepson, spoke with close friends of the woman and slammed police over her death

'This is a very difficult time for our family. We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this has happened,' the statement read.

'We will not make any further comment or statement and ask that you respect our privacy.' 

In a statement, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said an investigation was in its early stages, but that police did not have their body cameras on during the incident.

Both officers involved in the shooting have been forced to take paid leave. 

Less than a week earlier it was revealed that officers across the city were using body cameras at what appeared to be a low amounts, despite their high-profile roll out. 

Under Minneapolis Police Department policy, officers 'should manually activate their PVR (portable video recorder) to Record Mode when reasonably safe and practical' in situations including 'suspicious person stops' and 'crimes in progress'.

Friends of the woman told the Star Tribune that she had often spoken out against gun violence and told 'how much better' things were in Australia. 

Ms Damond (pictured) was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others and regularly ran workshops, according to her website and social media accounts
Ms Damond (pictured) was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others and regularly ran workshops, according to her website and social media accounts

Ms Damond (pictured) was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others and regularly ran workshops, according to her website and social media accounts

At a vigil for Ms Damond, women's activists wrote the names of other people gunned down by police in chalk on the pavement
At a vigil for Ms Damond, women's activists wrote the names of other people gunned down by police in chalk on the pavement

At a vigil for Ms Damond, women's activists wrote the names of other people gunned down by police in chalk on the pavement

WHY DID POLICE HAVE THEIR BODY CAMERAS TURNED OFF? 

- The use of body cameras, or portable video recorders (PVR), was initiated in Minneapolis during 2016.

- Police introduced the technology in an effort to reduce complaints about the behaviour of officers and also to ensure vital video evidence was captured.

- In Minneapolis, where Ms Ruszczyk died, the cameras must be manually switched on by police. They are automatic in other parts of the US.

- According to Minneapolis government's policy, the body cameras must be turned on by when they anticipate they may be involved in a certain situation.

- Situations where they must be switched on include: Traffic stops, arrests, physical confrontations, crimes in progress and suspicious person stops.

- It was last week revealed that the usage of body cameras among officers in Minneapolis was low as 4% in some areas when responding to 911 calls.

Source: Minneapolis Government

Ms Damond was a 'corporate speaker, trainer and coach' who worked to spiritually help others, according to her website and social media accounts.

Family friend Julia Reed addressed media on Monday, and said the woman would be 'undoubtedly' very missed. 

'She was treasured and loved - we will miss her dreadfully,' she said.

Ms Reed, who had known Ms Damond for 32 years, said she would miss: '[Justine's] energy, intelligence, and the joy she brought to my life'.

Originally trained as a vet at the University of Sydney, she was 'supporting individuals and organizations to discover the power and potential within their own brains and hearts.'

Ms Damond regularly held sessions at the Lake Harriet Spritual Centre, with many of her talks recorded and uploaded to YouTube. 

She grew up on Sydney's northern beaches, with her father John the owner of a Dymocks bookstore at Warringah Mall and a prominent member of the community.

Hundreds gathered outside the Damond home in the hours after her death to hold a vigil for the woman, with her neighbours remembering a 'beautiful light'.

'This woman was a beautiful light, she was a healer, she was loved, she should be alive - she should still be here,' one friend said.  

In a statement, the Minneapolis Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said an investigation was in its early stages, but confirmed police did not have their body cameras on during the incident

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Damond's death as quickly as possible
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Damond's death as quickly as possible

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Damond's death as quickly as possible

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (pictured) said she was 'heartsick and disturbed by what occurred'
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (pictured) said she was 'heartsick and disturbed by what occurred'

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges (pictured) said she was 'heartsick and disturbed by what occurred'

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she was disturbed by the shooting and called on BCA to release information about Ms Ruszczyk's death as quickly as possible.

'As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,' Mayor Hodges said, the Star Tribune reports.

 'I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night' - Mayor Betsy Hodges

'There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to.

'My thoughts are now with everyone affected by this tragic incident, especially the deceased woman and her family.' 

Hundreds of people gathered outside the woman's home on Sunday to hold a vigil
Hundreds of people gathered outside the woman's home on Sunday to hold a vigil

Hundreds of people gathered outside the woman's home on Sunday to hold a vigil

Read more:

Most watched News videos

MOST READ NEWS

Article Tags

    No tags for this article

About the author

What's next