The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an Australian bride-to-be in 2017 after she called 911 to report a possible assault has turned himself over to authorities after learning a warrant had been issued for his arrest.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman detailed the third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges against Officer Mohamed Noor, a member of the Minneapolis police force for 29 months, in the death of Justine Damond, who was just weeks away from her wedding date.
Damond, a 40-year-old meditation teacher and personal health and life coach, was fatally shot on July 15, 2017, when Officers Matthew Harrity and Noor responded to a 911 call she’d made.
An investigation revealed Damond (who was reportedly wearing her pajamas) approached the driver’s side window of the responding patrol car moments after a loud noise startled Harrity.
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Noor, who was sitting in the passenger seat, shot Damond through the open driver’s side window, Freeman said, and told investigators he felt his life was in danger at the time of the shooting.
Freeman said the two officers turned their body cameras on after exiting the vehicle after the shooting. They did not start trying to resuscitate her until “one minute and 10 seconds after” exiting the vehicle, he said.
Freeman said that the first conversations captured on the body cams suggest both officers were apparently “spooked” by something.
But Freeman said that “Justine was approaching the car unarmed” and that both officers “couldn’t tell if she was a male or female, an adult or a child.” Therefore Freeman said “Officer Noor did not act reasonably and abused his authority to use deadly force.”
According to Freeman, Damond told the officers “‘I’m dying’ or ‘I’m dead’” as they approached her.
“In the short time between when Ms. Damond … approached the squad car and the time that he fired the fatal shot, there is no evidence that Officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat, or confirmed a threat that justified the decision to use deadly force,” Freeman told reporters, noting Noor “recklessly and intentionally fired his gun.”
She was set to marry her fiancé, Don Damond, in Hawaii in early August; she had already publicly taken his last name.
The medical examiner concluded Damond died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.
Noor’s lawyer, Thomas Plunkett, could not be reached for comment Tuesday but previously told PEOPLE in a statement that the officer “extends his condolences to and anyone else who has been touched by this event.”
“He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling,” Plunkett said.
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Both Harrity, who joined the force in 2016, and Noor, were placed on paid leave immediately after the shooting. Their employment status was unclear Tuesday.
PEOPLE was unable to determine if Noor had entered a plea.
He is being held on $ 500,000 bail.
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