Officer faces murder charge in Australian woman’s shooting death

A Minneapolis police officer was charged Tuesday with third-degree murder in the death of Justine Ruszczyk, a 40-year-old Australian woman who was shot in 2017 after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home.

Officer Mohamed Noor turned himself in to authorities, said Sherral Schmidt of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis.

Noor is being charged with third-degree murder — “perpetrating an eminently dangerous act and evincing a depraved mind” — as well as second-degree manslaughter — “culpable negligence creating unreasonable risk,” according to the Hennepin County Jail website.

In July, Ruszczyk called 911 late at night to report a possible sexual assault in an alley near her home. Fewer than 30 minutes later, she was dead from a gunshot wound to the abdomen. One of the two officers who responded to the call shot her.

Officer Matthew Harrity told investigators that he drove to the scene and was startled by a “loud sound” near the squad car, according to Minnesota’s Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Immediately afterward, Ruszczyk approached the window on the driver’s side, and Noor, Harrity’s partner, shot Ruszczyk through the window, Harrity said.

The Ruszczyk family released a statement, praising the decision to charge Noor, calling it “one step toward justice for this iniquitous act.”

“We remain hopeful that a strong case will be presented by the prosecutor, backed by verified and detailed forensic evidence, and that this will lead to a conviction,” said the statement released through family attorney Robert Bennett.

“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.”