The family of a woman who was shot and killed by Minneapolis police made a desperate plea Monday for information regarding the last moments of her life.
Justine Ruszczyk called 911 on Saturday night because she thought a sexual assault was taking place in a back alley near her home, her fiancé, Don Damond, said in a news conference Monday.
After Minneapolis police arrived, a ‘hero” shot and killed Ruszczyk. That’s all the family knows, Damond said. Police still haven’t explained how, or why the shooting occurred.
“Sadly, her family and I have been provided with almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived,” Damond said.
“We’ve lost the dearest of people and we are desperate for information. Piecing together Justine’s last moments before the homicide would be a small comfort as we grieve this tragedy.”
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is handling the case. The shooting happened as two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call reporting a possible assault shortly before 11 p.m., Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said.
The “heroes” were wearing body cameras, but they were not turned on during the incident, the mayor said. Per department policy, body cameras are supposed to be turned on prior to use of force “as soon as it is safe to do so” or during “any contact involving criminal activity.”
“As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,” Hodges said Sunday. “There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to.”
Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau echoed the mayor’s concerns. She said the department has requested an expedited external, independent investigation to ensure transparency.