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'Life is Short': Justine Damond's Famous Saying Before Being Fatally Shot

“You have to do it, life is short” -- was the motto Australian Justine Damond encouraged her Minneapolis friends to live by. 

Little did the shooting victim know how quickly her own life would be cut short.

“I hear her saying, 'You have to do it, life is short' and then I think about her life and her not being here any more and I’m heartbroken,” her friend and yoga instructor Dawn Brunn told 10 News First.

Justine Damond was fatally shot one month before her wedding.  Image: Supplied.

“She didn’t make a small impact on people’s lives here, she made a really meaningful impact.”

Justine moved from her native Australia to the United States in 2015 to live with her fiancé Don and wholeheartedly embraced her new way of life; she was respected among her colleagues, appreciated by her neighbours and loved by her group of friends.

They were due to marry one month after she was fatally shot.

READ MORE: Aussie Justine Damond Shot Dead By US Cop Who 'Feared For His Life'

READ MOREMinneapolis Community Fights For Justice For Slain Aussie Justine Damond

On July 15, 2017 when the bride-to-be was tragically killed, Dawn described it as crippling.

“People were devastated because on that very day she was showing us her wedding dress and planning her wedding…we saw her at in the morning and 12 hours later she’d been killed.”

Brunn led meditation classes and inspirational talks at Lake Harriet Spiritual Centre and had developed quite a following in the city.

Justine Ruszczyk took her fiancé Don Damond's name one month before their planned wedding. Image: Supplied.

A fellow life coach, Jay Peterson, said it felt like the life had been sucked out of him when he got the call from her fiancé Don to say Justine had been fatally shot.

“She was a light in the room. She was smart, funny, beautiful; everything you could ever imagine in a friend,” he said.

“I’ll never forget the first time…she got to drive through a foot of snow, she was like a kid in a candy store.”

Peterson who was incredibly close to both Justine and Don said: “She lived her life driven by the greater good” and has no doubt she’s continuing that work still by starting a conversation about systemic cultural and procedural reform within the Minneapolis Police Department.

"She always said 'I’m gonna be famous one day, I’m gonna be famous one day,' and this may or may not be the way she envisioned but it’s making a difference,” Peterson said.

Her neighbours, who created an activist group in her honour, feel the same way.

“This has to turn out in a truly just way so that we feel safe in the community, at the moment we’re hesitant to call police and shouldn’t be that way in a civilised place,” John Dillery of Justice for Justine said.

He too heard the distressed noise of a woman being assaulted the night Justine was shot but wasn’t as quick as her to react.

He now stops and pauses at her memorial most days to pay his respects to his “lovely neighbour who used to call everyone ‘love’.”

Contact the author: kpratt@networkten.com.au.

Featured image: Supplied