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19 Aug 2017 8:09
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  •   Home > News > International

    Justine Damond, Australian shot by police officer in Minneapolis, remembered at memorial in US

    Mourners gather at a lake-front stage in Minneapolis to remember the Australian woman shot dead by a police officer last month, with her father choking back tears as he describes being "crushed by sorrow".


    Mourners wearing heart-shaped stickers have gathered at a lake-front stage in the US city of Minneapolis to remember Australian woman Justine Damond, who was shot dead by a police officer last month.

    Justine's father John Ruszczyk choked back tears as he told the gathering he was "crushed by sorrow".

    "You have stolen my daughter and ripped her from my arms," he said, referring to the officer who shot Ms Damond.

    "Justine, my daughter, was killed by a bullet fired by an agent of the state. I don't understand. I should have been on a plane to her wedding but we were flying to her funeral."

    He pointed out this was his first visit to Minneapolis and he should be "walking down the street smiling and laughing" with his daughter, "but now every step on the footpath is very painful".

    Her American fiance, Don Damond, told more than 200 mourners that "it felt like a privilege to love Justine", who he was to marry in Hawaii next week, and he had "immense gratitude for being the one she chose".

    A large photo of Ms Damond was displayed alongside an Australian flag at the memorial on the shores of Lake Harriet.

    The crowd also watched a performance from a didgeridoo player.

    Ms Damond's friend Lindsay Aiger told the ABC Ms Damond would be happy "so many people could experience her energy and message".

    Another attendee, Rosie McGowan, said Ms Damond, a qualified vet who was to marry this month, would have asked those at the memorial "why are you guys being so serious?".

    A banner above the bandshell read: "Move from fear and survival to fascination and creation".

    Ms Damond was shot by police officer Mohammed Noor on July 15 after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home.

    When officers arrived at the scene and Ms Damond went to speak to them Officer Noor shot her from the passenger seat.

    The single bullet struck in her in the abdomen at the drivers window.

    Police are investigating the shooting but the officer who fired will not talk to them, and the ABC understands even after a month, no significant police findings about what happened have been passed on.

    At the memorial a man at the back of the crowd held a sign reading: "NOOR RESIGN NOW."

    Ms Damond's family and friends have set up a memorial fund for the social justice causes she believed in.

    This week a Minneapolis City Council committee unanimously endorsed Arradondo's nomination.

    © 2017 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved


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