Justine Damond's Fiance Speaks Out About Her Death
Justine Damond's fiance Don Damond says he understands the anger that created the Black Lives Matter movement but believes police shootings are a "blue issue".
The fiance of Australian life coach Justine Ruszczyk Damond has described how he burst into tears when a jury announced last week former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was guilty of her murder.
Mr Damond said the jury had acknowledged what he and Ms Damond's family and friends had hoped since Noor shot the 40-year-old dead in a Minneapolis alley behind their home in 2017.
"I broke down crying," Mr Damond told America's CBS This Morning television news program, in his first interview after the verdict.
"It was the acknowledgement that what we know is how tragic this is, how wrong this is, how unjust this was."
The three-week trial in Minneapolis was brutal for Mr Damond and Ms Damond's father John Ruszczyk, brother Jason and stepmother Maryan Heffernan who flew in from Sydney.
They sat in the front row of the courtroom and observed gruesome crime scene and autopsy photos, police video camera footage and Noor's testimony he shot Ms Damond dead in an act of self-defense.
It is rare for police officers to be convicted of murder in the US but the evidence was so damning, the jurors took just one day of deliberations to find Noor guilty of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Ms Damond's family filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Minneapolis and received a record $29 million settlement.
Mr Damond wants police across the US to learn from the tragedy, describing his fiancee's death as a "policing issue".
"I would like the Minneapolis Police Department to go back and consider what - how officers are trained," Mr Damond said.
"I can understand where Black Lives Matter is so angry because you can see the unjustified shooting across this nation, but this is a blue issue."
Ms Damond, who took her fiance's name before their wedding because she was setting up a business in Minneapolis, was home alone just before midnight on July 15, 2017 when she heard a woman's screams near the alley behind her house.
Ms Damond called Mr Damond, who was in Las Vegas on business and he suggested she call 911.
Ms Damond, formerly of Freshwater on Sydney's northern beaches, agreed and called 911, but when police did not immediately arrive and the screams continued, she called 911 a second time.
"My first thought was, 'I want her to be safe' and so I said, 'I think just stay put and call 911 and then call me back'," Mr Damond said.
When Noor's police vehicle arrived, she went out to the alley.
Noor and his partner said they were startled by Ms Damond.
Noor, sitting in the front passenger seat of his vehicle, shot across his partner in the driver's seat and out the car window, striking Ms Damond in the stomach.
She was barefoot and dressed in pyjama pants and a pink shirt adorned with "Koala Australia" and a picture of a koala mum and baby.
Mr Damond grew concerned when he did not hear back from his fiancee.
"Probably six, seven minutes later, I text her having not heard from her," he said.
"I said, 'Tell me what's going on'.
"At this point, she was already gone."
Noor, 33, a Somali immigrant who had only been an officer for 21 months before the shooting faces a 12-and-a-half-year prison sentence when he is sentenced on June 7.