Minneapolis cop who shot, killed Australian woman identified

There are many unanswered questions after an Australian woman was shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer over the weekend. Justine Damond had called for help, but she was shot and killed and no one knows why.

MINNEAPOLIS - The Minneapolis police officer who shot and killed a woman who called 911 has been identified by the attorney who is representing him. 

According to Tom Plunkett, the officer is Mohamed Noor and he feels badly for the family of Justine Damond. 

In a statement, Plunkett said Noor came to the United States at a young age and considers being a police officer a calling. 

"He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves," the statement reads.

Damond, 40, was a spiritual healer and yoga teacher from Australia, who was also a bride-to-be. 

"Our hearts are broken," Damond's fiance said Monday. "And we are utterly devastated by the loss of Justine."

Relatives say Damond initially called 911 after hearing a noise in a back alley. 

In a news release, authorities said the officers were responding to a call of a possible assault, just north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South, just before 11:30 p.m. They said an officer fired his weapon and killed the woman but many questions remain.

According to police sources, Noor shot across his partner and out the window of the squad car, striking Damond. When Noor opened fire, his partner was "stunned," according to the source. 

No weapons were found at the scene. 

Noor joined the Minneapolis Police Department in March of 2015 and was later celebrated as the first Somali officer for the 5th Precinct. He graduated from Augsburg College in 2011 with a degree in business administration. 

In May of 2016, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges recognized Noor, calling his assignment a "wonderful sign of building trust and community policing at work."

Noor is currently on paid administrative leave, along with the other officer that was on scene.

Noor has two open complaints against him from 2017 and one from 2016. 

The BCA released a statement on Monday saying no weapons were found at the scene of the shooting. They say interviews with the officers have been requested but have not yet been completed. 

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No video of the incident has surfaced. 

According to the news release, "The officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. Investigators are attempting to determine whether any video of the incident exists."

The BCA reiterated that it does not determine whether a law enforcement agency policy was violated -- that decision will be reviewed through the department's internal affairs process. 

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau released a statement Monday afternoon saying, "This is clearly a tragic death."

She said there are a lot of unanswered questions -- many of which she's pushing to get the answers to as quickly as possible. 

 

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said he expects to receive the BCA findings, once completed, to determine whether either officer should be charged in Damond's death.

Freeman wouldn't comment on the broader case, which is being investigated by the state. But he says both officers should have switched on their cameras when they were approached by Damond in the alley.

Plunkett said his client would like to say more and will at a later time but wants to respect the privacy of the family and the ongoing investigations.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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