The family of slain Australian woman Justine Damond (Ruszczyk) have welcomed news, the Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot her, has finally been charged.
Mohamed Noor is accused of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over the tragic death of the Sydney life coach on July 15 2017.
He is expected to make his first appearance in a Minneapolis court later today with bail set at $US500,000.
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Officer Noor and his partner were called to Ms Damond’s home in the middle of the night, after she phoned 911 saying she had heard strange noised outside.
They were still inside their police vehicle when the 40-year-old was shot in the stomach.
OFFICER CHARGED: The US police officer who shot and killed unarmed Australian woman Justine Damond minutes after she called 911 has been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. #TenNews
READ MORE: https://t.co/TLhnorewP1 pic.twitter.com/VcFn34u3LB
— TEN Eyewitness News (@channeltennews) March 20, 2018
State prosecutors have revealed, Noor’s partner on the night of the incident, Matthew Harrity, said Ms Damond fell to the ground clutching the wound and said “I’m dying”.
“Officer Harrity said he heard a sound he described like a light bulb dropping onto the floor and saw a flash,” Head of the County Attorney’s office, Mike Freeman said.
“Harrity checked to make sure that he was not shot, then looked to his right and saw Officer Noor’s right hand extend across him towards Officer Harrity’s open window,” Mr Freeman explains.
“Officer Harrity then looked out his window and saw a woman.
“Ms Damond-Ruszczyk had put her hands on the wound on her left side or abdomen and said ‘I’m dying’, or ‘I’m dead’.”
He also told them Noor had acted in a manner that was “in disregard for human life”.
However, Noor’s lawyer maintained his client was innocent, insisting he “acted as he has been trained and consistent with established departmental policy”.
— Australian Story (@AustralianStory) March 20, 2018
Ms Damond’s father John Ruszcyzk’s and her fiance Don Damond issued a joint statement on behalf of both families, saying they hoped for a conviction.
“No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that,” the statement said.
If convicted of third-degree murder, Noor could face a maximum of 25 years in prison.