Officials: Australian woman shot after cops heard loud sound
MINNEAPOLIS — An Australian woman who called 911 to report a possible assault was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer after the officer’s partner was startled by a loud sound near their squad car, the partner told investigators Tuesday.
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Justine Damond, 40, approached the driver’s side window of the squad car immediately after the driver had been startled by the sound. The officer in the passenger seat, Mohamed Noor, fired his weapon, hitting Damond through the open driver’s side window, the BCA said.
The BCA said its information was based on an interview with the officer driving the car, Officer Matthew Harrity. Harrity was interviewed Tuesday, but Noor declined to be interviewed. The BCA said his attorney did not indicate when, or if, Noor would talk to investigators, and under the law an interview can’t be compelled.
Messages left with Noor’s attorney were not immediately returned Tuesday.
Harrity and Noor are on paid administrative leave. Harrity has been with the Minneapolis police department for one year, and Noor has been with the department for nearly two.
The information released Tuesday is the first narrative by the BCA since Saturday night’s shooting. According to the BCA, Harrity told investigators that he and Noor responded to a 911 call from Damond about a possible assault near her home at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Harrity was driving the squad car as the officers went through an alley to look for a suspect. The squad lights were off.
Harrity told agents he was startled by a loud sound near the cruiser, and immediately afterward, Damond approached the driver’s side window. Harrity told agents that Noor fired his weapon through the open driver’s side window.
No weapon was found at the scene. The officers did not turn on their body cameras until after the shooting, and the squad car camera was also not activated.
Harrity told investigators that after the shooting, the officers got out of their vehicle and gave Damond immediate medical attention.
Harrity said that he and Noor saw a man, estimated to be between 18 and 25, bicycling in the area before the shooting. That man stopped and watched as officers attended to Damond. BCA agents are asking that man, and any other potential witnesses, to come forward.
The BCA said that unless more people come forward, there are no additional interviews scheduled.