SYDNEY An Australian woman was shot and killed by a police officer in Minneapolis on Saturday night in an incident the citys mayor has called tragic and disturbing.
Australian media reported on Sunday that 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, was the woman killed in the officer-involved shooting over the weekend.
U.S. and Australian authorities have not publicly identified the victim and few details have been provided about the incident.The Hennepin County Medical Examiner told HuffPost the agency could confirm the death of a Justine Ruszczyk, but could not release the cause of her death.
Australias Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that a citizen of the country had been killed, but declined to identify her until her family had been notified, according to a statement obtained by HuffPost Australia. The agency said it would be providing consular assistance to her family.
Zach Damond, who identified himself as the womans future stepson, said in a video posted to Facebook that she was killed after calling 911 to report a sound in the alley behind her home. Damonds father, Don, was engaged to be married to the victim, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
Basically my moms dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I dont know, he said in thevideo, posted to the Facebook page for Womens March Minnesota. I demand answers. If anybody can help, just call police and demand answers. Im so done with all this violence.
Minneapolis police faced intense pressure on Sunday after authorities admitted there was no footage of the incident.
The states Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said body cameras worn by the officers involved were not turned on at the time and the squad camera did not capture the incident. The agency said it was looking to see if any other video was taken.
Since 2016, Minneapolis has required all officers to wear and activate their body cameras at all times when they could reasonably anticipate that they may become involved in a situation for which activation is appropriate, before any contact with a citizen.
Both of the police officers involved in the shooting are on paid administrative leave, the Star Tribune reports.
Betsy Hodges, the mayor of Minneapolis, said she intend[ed] to learn more and that she was heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred.
There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to, Hodges said in a statement. My thoughts are now with everyone affected by this tragic incident, especially the deceased woman and her family.
On Sunday, vigils took place around the home of the victim, at times drawing upwards of 200 people, journalists at the scene reported. Neighbors gathered outside Damonds house told local news outlets they were shocked by the event, with some linking the incident to other officer-involved shooting in Minnesota in recent years.