The Minneapolis police officer who fatally shot an unarmed woman this weekend reportedly heard a loud noise before firing his weapon.
The Star Tribune reports that officer Matthew Harrity, who was in the driver’s seat of the police cruiser Justine Damond was standing next to when officer Mohammed Noor pulled his weapon and fatally shot . her, gave an interview to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) about the Saturday evening shooting that had gripped international attention. He said that he and his partner heard a loud bang just moments before Damond, unarmed, approached their police cruiser in her pajamas.
Damond, a 40-year-old Australian native set to be married next month to an American, called 911 on Saturday night to report a possible assault in the alley behind her home, located in one of the safest neighborhoods in Minneapolis.
But a short time later she would be dead, the officer who shot her is coming under intense scrutiny.
Noor has retained an attorney, and thus far has refused to speak to investigators, according to the Star Tribune.
The newspaper reported earlier this week that sources said Officer Harrity was “stunned” when Noor shot the Damond through the driver’s side window.
The latest information provides the closest we’ve gotten so far to any kind of explanation for the fatal shooting. Neither officer had turned on their bodycam, and police dashcam video did not record the incident. Investigators are reportedly looking into whether any cameras near the location may have captured the shooting.
Harrity told the BCA the officers heard a “loud sound” moments before Damond approached the police cruiser. The BBC reports that another officer was heard on the police dispatch mentioning a possible fireworks display near the scene. It does appear possible, then, that officer Noor suspected Damond was responsible for the noise, but the BCA news release does not state that explicitly.
The Star Tribune reports that it is not known if or when Noor will speak with investigators. Both officers have been placed on administrative leave.
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