Australian Bride-to-Be Fatally Shot by Minnesota Police After Calling 911 to Report Possible Assault

By Celebrity News Wire on July 17, 2017

An Australian yoga instructor was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer on Saturday after calling to report a possible assault near her home, PEOPLE confirms.

Although police have not released the victim’s name, family of 40-year-old Justine Damond have identified her.

“My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know,” Zach Damond, the son of Damond’s fiancé said in a video. “She heard a sound in the alley so then she called the police and the cops showed up and … then next thing I know they take my best friend’s life.”

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A pair of officers responded to the area near Damond’s home at around 11:30 p.m. and “at one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” police said in a statement.

The officers responded to the call and pulled into an alley where Damond approached them in her pajamas to explain her call, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Citing police sources, the publication reports the officer in the passenger seat allegedly pulled out his gun suddenly and shot Damond through the driver’s side door.

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The officers have been placed on administrative leave and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting, a Minneapolis Police Department spokesman tells PEOPLE.

In the wake of the incident, it was revealed that the officers did not have their body cameras turned on, and the squad camera “did not capture the incident.”

Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement that she is “heartsick and disturbed” by the shooting and vowed to look into why the officers’ body cameras were not turned on.

Local residents held a vigil over the weekend where hundreds gathered to remember the woman and call for police reform, KSTP reports.

Damond was set to marry Don Damond in August, but had already shed her maiden name Ruszczyk, the Tribune reports. Don returned from a business trip on Sunday.

A friend of Damond’s told the New York Times that the woman had moved to the U.S. about three years ago to be with Don.

Damond was a well-known life coach and yoga instructor in the area and conducted medication workshops at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, the Times, reports.

“We are so sad to report the tragic shooting of Justine Damond,” officials with the center wrote in a Facebook post. “Justine was one of the most loving people you would ever meet. we can’t even imagine LHSC with out her.”

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