Justine Damond: prosecutors seek second-degree murder charge

Justine Damond: prosecutors seek second-degree murder charge
Justine Damond: prosecutors seek second-degree murder charge

Court is told Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor ‘knew exactly what he was doing’ when he fired fatal shot

Justine Damond, an Australian who was shot by police in the US in July 2017. Photograph: Instagram

Prosecutors are trying to bolster the murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer accused of using “tragic accuracy” to shoot dead Australian life coach Justine Damond Ruszczyk.

Mohamed Noor initially was charged with third degree murder and manslaughter in the second degree, but prosecutors have asked a judge in Minneapolis to add a more serious second-degree murder count.

Damond, 40, formerly of Sydney, was shot dead as she approached Noor’s police vehicle in an alley behind her Minneapolis home just before midnight on 15 July 2017.

“There is probable cause to believe the defendant committed second degree intentional murder and the state respectfully requests that the court grant the state’s motion to amend the complaint,” prosecutors wrote in Thursday’s filing.

Damond had called police after hearing a woman’s screams near the alley.

Prosecutors alleged Noor “knew exactly what he was doing and that he intended to do it” when he shot from the passenger seat of his police vehicle, across his partner in the driver’s seat and out the car window hitting Damond in the stomach.

“That is probable cause for second degree murder,” prosecutors wrote.

“The circumstances surrounding the crime show that the defendant acted with the intent to kill.

“He fired at Ms Ruszczyk from no more than six feet [1.8 metres] away.

“He fired with tragic accuracy, managing to send a 9 millimetre bullet across his partner’s body and through the narrow space of the open driver’s side window.

“His bullet struck Ms Ruszczyk in her torso, five inches above her waistline, and caused nearly immediate death.

“As a trained police officer the defendant was fully aware that such a shot would kill Ms Ruszczyk, a result he clearly intended.”

Noor, no longer a police officer, is scheduled to face a jury on 1 April in Minneapolis.

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