An Australian woman, Justine Damond, who was a yoga and meditation instructor, was fatally shot in Minneapolis on Saturday by a police officer who did not have his body camera turned on, authorities said.
Minnesota police and the medical examiner’s office have yet to identify the woman on Monday, but a spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office told Buzzfeed her “identity has not been completed. It could be at the end of the day.”
However, media reports citing friends and family identified her as Justine Ruszczyk, who went by Justine Damond according to her website; She was engaged to be married to a Minnesota resident, Dan Damond.
Authorities said two police officers responded to a 911 call of a possible assault just before 11:30 pm on Saturday night.
“At one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” a police press release said.
Police said that neither of the officers’ body cameras were turned on at the time of the shooting. The squad camera also did not capture the incident, police said. There is no reason the officers’ body camera to not be on, so questions are being raised as to why there is no video evidence of the shooting.
Investigators are trying to determine if any video of the shooting exists. The incident is being investigated by the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA).
According to Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, she said in a press conference,
“I have a lot of questions about why the body cameras weren’t on. I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by the shooting… It is difficult and challenging to have few facts at this point. We all want to know more. I want to know more… as much information with all of us.”
The Star Tribune, citing sources with knowledge of the incident, reported that Damond called 911 to report a possible assault in her alley and was in her pajamas talking to one of the officers on the driver’s side of the squad car.
The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver’s side door, the sources told the Star Tribune. No weapon was found at the scene.
In a Facebook live video on Sunday, Dan Damond’s son, Zach, said, “My mom is dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don’t know and I demand answers.”
Damond’s fiancé’s son, Zach said that she called the police when “she heard a sound in the alley.”
According to Zach, he said,
“She thought something bad was happening and then next thing I know, they take my best friend’s life. He described her as a ‘very passionate woman.’ I’m so done with all this violence. This is so much bullshit. America sucks. The cops need to get trained differently… This has to stop.”
The shooting comes in the wake of public outrage in the Minnesota area after a police officer was found not guilty of second-degree manslaughter in last year’s fatal shooting of Philando Castile, a beloved nutrition worker at a public school.