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Justine Damond's memorial held as investigation ramps up

HUNDREDS of mourners are expected to gather at a public memorial for former Sydney woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond, who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer.

Ruszczyk Damond, 40, was shot dead by rookie cop Mohamed Noor on July 15, after she twice called 911 to report a sexual assault in the lane behind her inner city Fulton home.

While the service was dedicated to celebrating the life of the former Sydney vet, meditation teacher and corporate speaker, there remain many questions about why Noor gunned her down.

His partner, Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators from the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension that Noor, who was in the front passenger seat, fired his service revolver through the drivers' side door after a woman slapped the back of their squad car.

Flowers and messages placed at the scene near the home of Justine and Don Damond ahead of a memorial to be held at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia
Flowers and messages placed at the scene near the home of Justine and Don Damond ahead of a memorial to be held at the Lake Harriet Bandshell in Minneapolis. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia

Harrity said the noise startled the pair, and came at the same time they saw a man riding a bike towards them. Attorneys for both Harrity and Noor have said their clients felt they were being "ambushed", a claim that has been rubbished by Damond's family and friends.

Noor, 36, has refused to explain his actions but his brother said shortly after the shooting that it was an "unfortunate" mistake.

"If you wait for the investigation you'll know it was an honest and sincere event that transpired," Noor's brother told News Corp.

The BCA would not comment on when its investigators would hand a brief of evidence to the Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who told News Corp Australia last month he is considering charging Noor with murder.

An Australian flag flies outside the home of Justine and Don Damond. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia
An Australian flag flies outside the home of Justine and Don Damond. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia

Noor can only be compelled to testify if Minnesota police launch a separate internal investigation into the shooting. Due to laws designed to protect public servants, nothing he says can be used against him in a criminal investigation if he is compelled by his employers to speak.

Investigators last week obtained a new search warrant to examine Noor and Harrity's iPhones in the hope they "may more clearly define the actions of Officers Noor and Harrity both before and post shooting".

Flowers and messages placed at the scene near the home of Justine and Don Damond ahead of her memorial. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia
Flowers and messages placed at the scene near the home of Justine and Don Damond ahead of her memorial. Picture: Nathan EdwardsSource:News Corp Australia

Damond's shooting has drawn international attention and caused Mineappolis police chief Janee Harteau to resign after Mayor Betsy Hodges said the city lost faith in her leadership.

Police in Minnesota must also now turn on their body video cameras during traffic stops and while on any call-outs, after the department weathered heavy criticism for the fact neither Noor nor Harrity enabled filming, leaving investigators with little evidence.

Topics:  crime editors picks justine damond

News Corp Australia

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