Australian 'healer' mourned after shooting by Minneapolis police



Hundreds of people gathered at the entrance of an alleyway in southwest Minneapolis Sunday evening to mourn a woman who was shot and killed by police there Saturday night.

The woman, identified by the Star Tribune as Justine Damond, 40, was killed when two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault north of the 5100 block of Washburn Avenue South just before 11:30 p.m. CT Saturday, according to a news release from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Officials said an officer "fired their weapon" and killed the woman.

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The BCA was investigating the fatal officer-involved shooting, and Minneapolis Assistant Police Chief Medaria Arradondo said Sunday that the officers involved has been placed on administrative leave.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office will conduct an autopsy.


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."

Zach Damond, son of the woman's fiancé, Don Damond, addressed the shooting in a live Facebook video Sunday afternoon.

"My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know, and I demand answers," he said.


He said Justine Damond, who also went by her maiden name Justine Ruszczyk, called the police when she heard a sound in the alley. Police said at a press conference Sunday that they were responding to an "unknown trouble" call when the shooting occurred.

At the press conference, Mayor Betsy Hodges said she is "heartsick" over the shooting.

"Like you, I have a lot of questions," she said. "I have a lot of questions about why the body cameras weren't on. ... Questions I hope and anticipate will be answered in the next few days."

Neighbors said the Sydney, Australia, woman who was killed was a "spiritual healer" who led meditation sessions with dozens of others in Minneapolis. 

Damond and her fiancé lived in the 5000 block of Washburn, neighbors told theStarTribune. The couple had planned to marry in August, a family friend told the paper. She had already begun using his name professionally.

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