Justine Damond Ruszczyk's Alleged Killer Charged

He handed himself into police.

Article heading image for Justine Damond Ruszczyk's Alleged Killer Charged

The American police officer accused of fatally gunning down Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk has been charged with murder and manslaughter.

Mohamed Noor, 32, handed himself into police after a warrant was issued for his arrest over the death of the former Sydneysider on the evening of July 15, 2017.

Damond Ruszczyk, 40, died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen minutes after calling 911 to report a suspected sexual assault in an alleyway near her Minneapolis home.

The life coach was weeks away from getting married.

In a statement her family said it was "one step towards justice", and are "hopeful that a strong case will be presented by the prosecutor...[leading] to a conviction.

"No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today's actions reflect that."

Prosecutors believe Noor, who was in the passenger seat, shot Damond Ruszczyk after being startled.

"There is no evidence Officer Noor encountered a threat, appreciated a threat, investigated a threat or confirmed a threat that justified his decision to use deadly force," Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said on Tuesday.

"Instead Officer Noor recklessly and intentionally fired his handgun from the passenger seat in disregard for human life."

The case, which could be heard as early as Wednesday, will go ahead without a statement from the accused who has pleaded the fifth amendment, which allows a person to decline comment where answers may incriminate them.

He's been charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Third-degree murder carries a maximum 25 years behind bars, while the latter carries 10 years.

20 March 2018

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