Investigators: Officer 'startled' before shooting, killing Australian woman

The girl was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer.

MINNEAPOLIS - A "loud sound" was heard near the Minneapolis police squad moments before Justine Damond was shot and killed by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.

That detail, along with many others, were released Tuesday night as part of the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension's (BCA) investigation.

The BCA says its agents interviewed Officer Matthew Harrity on Tuesday. Harrity has been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for one year and was driving the squad the night of the shooting on July 15.

Officer Mohamed Noor has been an officer with the Minneapolis Police Department for 21 months. He was in the passenger seat of the squad, according to the BCA. The BCA says Noor has declined to be interviewed by agents at this time. Noor’s attorney did not provide clarification to the BCA on when, if ever, an interview would be possible.

The BCA's preliminary investigation has found Officer's Harrity and Noor were responding to a 911 call of a possible assault near Damond's home at 5024 Washburn Avenue South. Investigators say the officers drove south through the alley between Washburn and Xerxes avenues toward West 51st Street in search of a suspect. All squad lights were off.

As they reached West 51st Street, Officer Harrity, according to the BCA, "indicated that he was startled by a loud sound near the squad." Immediately afterward, Damond approached the driver’s side window of the squad.

Harrity told agents that Officer Noor discharged his weapon, striking Damond through the open driver’s side window. The officers immediately exited the squad and provided medical attention, but Damond, 40, died at the scene of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Investigators say there is no video or audio of the shooting. Body cameras were not turned on until after the shooting. The squad camera was also not turned on.

Crime scene personnel recovered a cell phone near Damond. No weapons were recovered from the scene.

Officer Harrity told investigators that both he and Noor saw an 18-25-year-old white male bicycling eastbound on West 51st Street immediately before the shooting. This person stopped at the scene and watched as the officers provided medical assistance to Damond. BCA agents would like to speak with this person and anyone else who may have witnessed the incident. These individuals are asked to contact the BCA at 651-793-7000.

The BCA says its investigation is continuing and will present its findings without recommendations to the county attorney for review once the investigation is complete.

© 2017 KARE-TV


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