Australian woman who was shot dead by US police named as Justine Ruszczyk-Damond
Justine Ruszczyk-Damond was mistakenly shot dead by police in Minneapolis on Saturday night.
The woman who was shot dead in Minneapolis on Saturday night has been named as Justine Ruszczyk-Damond, 40. According to the Huff Post she was killed when police officers responded to an emergency call about an alleged assault. While the victim is yet to be formally identified, she's being named as the 40-year-old former Sydneysider.
Justine was engaged to Minneapolis man Don Damond. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has released a statement on behalf of the Ruszczyk family this afternoon:
“This is a very difficult time for our family. We are trying to come to terms with this tragedy and to understand why this has happened.”
Justine was a yoga instructor, life coach and taught meditation. In the statement, DFAT added that they will not be providing any more information.
Reports have found that Ruszczyk called the police about a possible assault after she heard noises behind her house.
Minnesota Police haven't released many details about the shooting, but have revealed that the officers' body cameras weren't switched on, and the incident wasn't captured on the squad car's dash camera.
A young man, who is believed to be Justine's fiance's son, called Zach, appeared in an emotional Facebook live video condemning the police.
He described Justine as his "best friend" and "a very passionate woman", he added:
"I'm so done with all this violence. It's so much bullsh*t. America sucks."
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said she's "heartsick and deeply disturbed" by the shooting and vowed to find out what exactly happened to cause her death.
During a press conference she said:
“There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA (Bureau of Crime Apprehension) to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to."
There's is a lot of anger in the local community with people demanding to know how such a thing could happen. A vigil was held for Justin on Sunday night local time, with hundreds of people showing up to write messages of love and support on the pavement.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Justine is being described as "the most beautiful person" who was "all about giving to other people".
Very, very sad news today.
Image: Facebook/Justine Ruszczyk-Damond