/I texted her … she was already gone: Justine Damonds fiance recalls last time he spoke to her

I texted her … she was already gone: Justine Damonds fiance recalls last time he spoke to her


May 10, 2019 12:04:22

The fiance of Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Minneapolis, has given an emotional TV interview describing his last conversation with the woman he hoped to marry.

Key points:

  • Don Damond encouraged his fiance to call 911 because he wanted her to be safe
  • Police officer Mohamed Noor was convicted of third-degree murder in Justine’s shooting death
  • Mr Damond said he texted Justine but at that point “she was already gone”

Last week former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was found guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over the shooting death of Ms Damond Ruszczyk, who had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault.

In an interview with US television network CBS — his first sit-down TV appearance since Noor’s conviction — Don Damond called for policing reform.

“I cannot even still get my arms around how this could happen,” Mr Damond said.

“I’m coping, but I am … um, one day at a time.”

After hearing the guilty verdict, Mr Damond said he “broke down crying”.

“It was the acknowledgement … [of] how tragic this is, how wrong this is, how unjust this was.”

In what would prove to be their final conversation on July 15, 2017, Ms Damond Ruszczyk rang her fiance, who was in Las Vegas for business, to tell him she was concerned about a possible sexual assault in an alley behind her home.

“My first thought was, I want her to be safe,” Mr Damond said.

“I said: ‘Just stay put and call 911, and then call me back’.

“Probably six or seven minutes later I texted her, having not heard from her. I said: ‘Tell me what’s going on’.

“At this point, she was already gone.”

Noor is due to be sentenced on June 7.

High-profile shootings of unarmed civilians by police officers has prompted widespread protests in the US.

The killing of black victims by white cops exposed deep-seated racial tensions and sparked the Black Lives Matter movement.

“I can understand why Black Lives Matter is so angry because you can see the unjustified shooting across this nation. But this is a blue issue,” Mr Damond told CBS.

“I would like the Minneapolis police department to go back and consider how officers are trained.

“How can what was learned here be taken to change and address policing in this country?

“There needs to be changes made so that no-one has to go through this. That no-one has to ever experience what we experienced.”