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Crime

Fiancé of Australian Woman Shot and Killed by Minnesota Police Speaks Out

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The fiancé of Justine Damond, an Australian yoga instructor who was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police officer on Saturday, said his family was “utterly devastated” by her death on Monday.

“We lost the dearest of people and are desperate for information,” Don Damond said in a statement. “Piecing together Justine’s last moments before the homicide would provide small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.”

Damond was joined by his family while standing in front of his Fulton home, according to the Minnesota Star Tribune. He told reporters that Justine had called 911 to report “what she believed was an active sexual assault occurring nearby.”

Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP

“Sadly, her family and I have been provided with almost no information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived,” he continued.

The police officer who shot Justine was identified on Monday as officer Mohamed Noor, the Star Tribune reports. His partner, who did not fire any shots, was identified to the Star Tribune as officer Matthew Harrity.

Don and Justine were set to marry in August. Justine had already changed her name to Damond from her maiden name Ruszczyk, the Star Tribune reports.

Justine Damond
Justine Ruszczyk Damond/Minneapolis Star Tribune/ZUMA Wire

“Our lives are forever changed as a result of knowing her, she was so kind and so darn funny, she made us all laugh with her great wit and her humor,” Don said. “It is difficult to fathom how to go forward without her in my life.”

Chief Janeé Harteau issued a statement Monday afternoon revealing she would request a quick investigation into the shooting.

“I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death,” Harteau said. “I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.”

A pair of officers responded to the area near Damond’s home at around 11:30 p.m. and “at one point an officer fired their weapon, fatally striking a woman,” police said in a statement.

Zach Damond (left) and his father, Don, outside Don’s home in Minneapolis on Monday
Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP

The officers responded to the call and pulled into an alley where Damond approached them in her pajamas to explain her call, the Star Tribune reported. Citing police sources, the publication reports the officer in the passenger seat allegedly pulled out his gun suddenly and shot Damond through the driver’s side door.

The officers have been placed on administrative leave and the Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension is investigating the shooting, a Minneapolis Police Department spokesman tells PEOPLE.

In the wake of the incident, it was revealed that the officers did not have their body cameras turned on, and the squad camera “did not capture the incident.”

Mayor Betsy Hodges said in a statement that she is “heartsick and disturbed” by the shooting and vowed to look into why the officers’ body cameras were not turned on.