Nation

Minneapolis police kill Australian woman seeking help

MINNEAPOLIS — Details about what led a Minneapolis police officer to fatally shoot an Australian woman remained unclear Monday, with authorities saying only that officers were responding to a 911 call about a possible assault when the woman was shot.

Minneapolis authorities have not released the woman’s name. The Star Tribune identified her as Justine Damond, 40, from Sydney, Australia. The newspaper reported that she was engaged to be married and had already taken her fiance’s last name. Her maiden name was Justine Ruszczyk.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said two Minneapolis officers responded to the call late Saturday. At some point, an officer fired a weapon.

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The Star Tribune, citing three people with knowledge of the shooting it did not name, said Damond had been the one to call 911 about a possible assault in the alley behind her house.

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The three people said two officers pulled into the alley in a single squad car. Damond, wearing pajamas, stood at the driver’s side door and talked to the driver. The newspaper’s sources said the officer in the passenger seat shot Damond through the driver’s side door.

Police referred questions to the BCA. A spokeswoman for the agency did not return messages seeking to confirm that account.

Neighbor Joan Hargrave called the killing ‘‘an execution.’’ She said there was no reason for a well-trained officer to see Damond as a threat.

‘‘This is a tragedy — that someone who’s asking for help would call the police and get shot by the police,’’ Hargrave said.

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