The fiancé of the Aussie woman fatally shot by a Minneapolis officer opened up about his final phone conversation with the love of his life, moments before her July 2017 murder.
In his first interview since the ex-cop was convicted of third-degree murder in her death last week, Don Damond revealed he spoke to 40-year-old Justine Ruszczyk Damond before she reported a possible rape near their Minneapolis home.
“My first thought was, ‘I want her to be safe,’” Damond told CBS News in a Thursday interview. “And so I said, ‘I think just stay put and call 911 and then call me back.’”
The decision to call 911 proved to be fatal for the engaged Australian woman.
When officers responded to the scene, Ruszczyk Damond approached the squad car in her pajamas and attempted to speak to the cop in the driver’s seat, prosecutors said. The other officer, Mohamed Noor, opened fire on Ruszczyk Damond, claiming he heard a loud bang and wanted to protect his partner’s life.
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“Probably six, seven minutes later, I text her having not heard from her,” her fiancé said. “I said, ‘Tell me what’s going on.’ At this point, she was already gone.”
Nearly two years later, Damond said he “cannot even still get my arms around how this could happen,” CBS reported.
“I am still processing it all, you know?” he said.
Damond said it was “very painful” to attend Noor’s murder trial and broke down crying last week when the guilty verdict was read.
“It was the acknowledgment that what we know is how tragic this is, how wrong this is, how unjust this was,” Damond said.
He said he now plans to continue to fight for law enforcement to improve how they train officers.
“This is a policing issue,” he told CBS. “I would like the Minneapolis Police Department to go back and consider what, and how officers are trained. I can understand where Black Lives Matter is so angry because you can see the unjustified shooting across this nation, but this is a blue issue.”
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