Minneapolis police release 911 transcript in fatal shooting of bride-to-be from Australia
iStock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) — The Minneapolis Police Department has released transcripts of the 911 calls placed by a bride-to-be moments before a responding officer shot her to death.
Justine Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old Australian native, placed her first call to 911 Saturday night at 11:27 p.m. local time to report what she believed was a sexual assault occurring near her home in Minneapolis’ Fulton neighborhood.
“I can hear someone out the back and I — I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped,” Ruszczyk told the 911 operator, according to the transcript released by police.
“It’s been going on for a while and I think she tried to say help and it sounds distressed,” she adds.
“OK, I’ve already got an officer on the way,” the 911 operator tells her.
Ruszczyk called 911 again about eight minutes later, expressing concern that police hadn’t arrived yet.
According to the transcript, the operator answers: “911, what is the address of the emergency?”
“I just reported one but no one’s here and was wondering if they got the address wrong,” Ruszczyk says.
“Are you Justine?” the operator asks. “You’re hearing a female screaming?”
“Yeah,” Ruszczyk responds. “Yes, along behind the house.”
“Yup, officers are on the way there,” the operator says.
Two officers form the Minneapolis Police Department, identified by authorities as Matthew Harrity and Mohamed Noor, responded to Ruszczyk’s call Saturday night.
Harrity was driving the squad car, while Noor was in the passenger seat, according to the Minnesota Department of Public Safety. As they neared Ruszczyk’s home, Harrity indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the car, after which Ruszczyk immediately approached the driver’s side, authorities said.
Noor then fired his weapon, striking Ruszczyk through the driver’s side window, which was open, the Minnesota DPS said. The officers provided medical assistance to Ruszczyk until medics arrived but she was pronounced dead at the scene, authorities said.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Monday that Ruszczyk died of a single gunshot wound to her abdomen.
Both officers have been placed on standard paid administrative leave pending the investigation. Ruszczyk’s death has been ruled a homicide.
Police have launched an internal affairs review of the officers’ use of force.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune said the woman was Australian and went by the name Justine Damond, using the last name of her fiance, Don Damond.
“Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk,” the Star Tribune reported. “While the couple were not yet married, Justine referred to herself as Damond on her personal website.”
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.”
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