The father of an Australian woman shot to death by a Minneapolis police officer responding to her 911 call said he was “crushed by sorrow” a week ahead of what would have been his daughter’s wedding.
Instead of traveling to Hawaii Friday evening for the ceremony, John Ruszczyk remembered his daughter, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, during a memorial service at Lake Harriet, the Star Tribune reported.
“Justine should not have died,” he said. “This is wrong on every level.”
Minneapolis Police officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed the 40-year-old spiritual healer after she called authorities to report a possible sexual assault near her home on July 15
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His partner, Officer Matthew Harrity, told detectives a noise startled Noor as Damond approached their cruiser. Noor shot through the open driver-side window from the passenger seat and fatally struck the Australian bride-to-be.
Ruszcyyk said he feels as though his daughter has been “ripped from his arms.” He traveled from Australia to Minneapolis for the first time for the memorial.
Damond had moved to the area to be with her fiance Don Damond, who said Friday that it “felt like a privilege to love Justine.”
“I have immense gratitude for being the one she chose,” he added. “In Australia they call it ‘you’re punching above your weight.’ I really had to step up to be at her level.”
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Damond’s shooting sent a shockwave through the Minneapolis police department, sparking the resignation of Chief Janee Harteau. She faced backlash after it was revealed officers failed to record the fatal encounter with dashboard or body cameras.
With News Wire Services
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