Fireworks May Have Startled Officer in Death of Justine Damond

New information into what happened the night a Minneapolis Police Officer shot and killed Justine Damond has been presented.

Justine Damond, Minneapolis Police
Image Credit: City of Minneapolis/Facebook

EDINA, Minn. — The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) held a press conference with Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges Tuesday night to present new information on the death of Justine Damond.

What We Already Know

The preliminary BCA report confirmed many details of the case that has been leaked to the public.

Officers Mohamed Noor and Matthew Harrity were in the squad car that was sent to Justine Damond’s call of potential sexual assault in the neighborhood. They also confirmed that the woman shot was Justine Damond, 40, who died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen.

The BCA report corroborates the statements from earlier sources that Noor discharged his weapon through the driver side window. Noor was the passenger in the squad car. No weapons were found at the scene.

New Information

The BCA confirmed that they spoke with Harrity, but Noor has declined to be interviewed by agents investigating the shooting. The agency notes they cannot force an officer to give a statement.

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges shared her frustration that Noor would not provide a statement.

“I wish we could compel him,” Hodges said.

This policy goes back to the Fifth Amendment and Noor’s right to not incriminate himself. Assistant Chief Medaria Arradondo told members of the press there is no indication as to when, or if Noor will give a formal statement.

There may be a potential witness. Harrity told authorities that he witnessed a white male, 18-25, who stopped to watch while biking in the area. Authorities are asking for him to come forward.

Authorities believe Noor was startled by fireworks. Radio conversations released note that “two shots heard from the east” were probably fireworks.

911 Call Transcript Released

Minneapolis police released the two 911 transcripts from the night of the shooting.

Call One:

Operator: 911, what’s the address of the emergency?

Caller: Hi, I’m, I can hear someone out the back and I, I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped.

Operator: Give me the address.

Caller: 5024 Washburn Avenue South.

Operator: Washburn Avenue South. You said it’s behind (inaudible)?

Caller: And there’s a (inaudible) out the back, yup, yup. And I think she just yelled out “help,” but it’s difficult the sound has been going on for a while, but I think, I don’t think she’s enjoying it. I think it’s, I don’t know.

Operator: Okay, well I already got a call started and help on the way. Uh, you can’t see anything, you’re just hearing a female screaming then, is that what you’re saying?

Caller: Yeah. It sounds like sex noises, but it’s been going on for a while and I think she tried to say help and it sounds distressed.

Operator: Okay, I’ve already got an officer on the way. What is your name?

Caller: JUSTINE.

Operator: JUSTINE, what’s your last name?

Caller: JUSTINE.

Operator: JUSTINE.

Caller: Yeah.

Operator: And a phone number?

Caller: [redacted]

Operator: Okay, we’ve already got help on the way. If anything changes before we get there just give us a call right back, but officers should be there soon.

Caller: Thanks.

Operator: Okay, not a problem.

Call Two:

Operator: 911, what is the address of the emergency?

Caller: Hi, I just reported one, but no one’s here and was wondering if they got the address wrong.

Operator: What’s the address?

Caller: 5024 Washburn Avenue South. It supposed to be Washburn Avenue South.

Operator: Are you JUSTINE?

Caller: Yeah, (inaudible).

Operator: You’re hearing a female screaming?

Caller: Yes, along behind the house.

Operator: Yup, officers are on the way there.

Caller: Thank you.

Operator: You’re welcome, bye.

Where’s Chief Harteau?

In the midst of the officer involved shooting, one person has yet to show their face, Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau. According to the Star Tribune, Harteau is on vacation.

Paul Blume at Fox 9 tweeted confirmation that Harteau had returned from her vacation.

Preya Samsundar

Preya Samsundar was born and raised in Minneapolis, MN. She graduated from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities this Spring with a B.A. in Political Science and Sociology, with a minor in Strategic Communications. Preya has previously worked on several State Campaign Races.