On Saturday night, Dr. Justine Damond, 40, a well known Australian holistic healer, cancer researcher, and trained veterinarian surgeon from Sydney, was shot dead in the abdomen by a police officer outside her home she shared with her fiancé in one of the safest neighborhoods of Minneapolis. Justine had called 911 to report what sounded like a woman being sexually assaulted in the alley. Her fiancé was out of town on business. She called the first time to report, and then a second time 8 minutes later, to make sure they had the right address. She was assured they were on the way.
When the officers dispatched to her call did arrive minutes later, Justine approached the officer (Matthew Harrity) at the driver’s side window. The officer in the passenger seat (Mohamed Noor) shot across his partner and out the driver’s door and window, shooting Justine dead. Harrity says he was shocked when Noor shot, and they had both heard a loud noise just before, which startled them and must have caused Noor to fire.
Reports say the two young officers had only 3 years between them on the job. They are on paid administrative leave.
The alley was WELL LIT with a combination of lights from neighbors’ garages and city lighting so she could be seen clearly, say residents.
Noor, who was 31 and on the force since 2015, extended his condolences to the family in a statement through his attorney. “Noor came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities”, attorney Thomas Plunkett said. (That was his actual statement.)
The mayor has said the incident made her “heartsick.”
Quotes from people who were troubled by the killing:1
“Absolutely (she made a difference to a lot of lives), especially ours. We have had a joyous relationship with her up until now.”
“(We will remember her for) her energy, her intelligence, and the joy she brought to our lives.”
“I am happy to have known Justine, and her untimely, tragic death is a reminder to live life fully, love deeply, and take risks to love as we are not promised tomorrow.”
Originally trained as a veterinarian, Justine also studied and practiced yoga and meditation for over 17 years, was a qualified yoga instructor, and a personal health and life coach. (DM)
On LinkedIn, the former veterinarian defined herself as “A Speaker, Coach & Consultant for Neuroscience & Meditation Based Change Initiatives.” 2
Her interest in supporting people to heal and transform themselves developed after she saw family members suffer greatly from depression, alcoholism, and cancer. And so, after losing much of her family to cancer, she spent many years on a personal investigative journey to discover how habits and disease develop.3
The police who arrived (including the one who shot her) had their cameras turned off. Political leaders are asking why.
“Two officers responded to a 911 call about a possible assault in the alley off of West 51st Street between Washburn and Xerxes avenues around 11.30pm, according to a statement released Sunday by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.” 4
The local community has been upset by the incident, and rightfully so. We are so sorry for the family’s loss and hope the investigation will wrap up soon so that they may have closure.
We’ve lost so many holistic healers and doctors in just two short years. (Read about that by clicking here. We will update shortly.)