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Australian bride-to-be mourned after shooting by Minneapolis police

By: AMY FORLITI, Associated Press
July 17, 2017 Updated: July 18, 2017 at 6:15 am
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Caption +
This undated photo provided by Stephen Govel/www.stephengovel.com shows Justine Damond, of Sydney, Australia, who was fatally shot by police in Minneapolis on Saturday, July 15, 2017. Authorities say that officers were responding to a 911 call about a possible assault when the woman was shot. (Stephen Govel/www.stephengovel.com via AP)

MINNEAPOLIS — The family of an Australian woman who was shot and killed by police in Minneapolis says they're trying to understand why it happened.

In a statement released by Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the family of the woman — whom Minneapolis authorities haven't identified — said it's a difficult time.

The Star Tribune (http://strib.mn/2tZtSB2 ) identified the woman as Justine Damond, 40, from Sydney, Australia.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a statement Sunday saying two Minneapolis officers responded to a 911 call for a potential assault late Saturday. Exact details weren't released, but officials said an officer fired a gun, killing the woman.

Police Shooting Minneapolis
Friends and strangers leave flowers at a makeshift memorial at the scene where a Minneapolis police officer shot and killed Justine Damond, Monday, July 17, 2017 in Minneapolis. The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension released a statement Sunday saying two Minneapolis officers responded to a 911 call for a potential assault late Saturday. Exact details weren't released, but officials said an officer fired a gun, killing Diamond. (Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune via AP) 

Officials say the officers' body cameras weren't turned on and that a squad camera didn't capture the shooting.

The Star Tribune reports Monday that three sources with knowledge of the incident said that two officers in one squad car, responding to the 911 call, pulled into the alley. Damond, in her pajamas, went to the driver's side door and was talking to the driver. The officer in the passenger seat pulled his gun and shot Damond through the driver's side door, sources said. No weapon was found at the scene.

It's not clear why the officers' body cameras weren't turned on. The department's policy allows for a range of situations in which officers are supposed to do so, including "any contact involving criminal activity" and before use of force. If a body camera isn't turned on before use of force, it's supposed to be turned on as soon as it's safe to do so.

Some 50 friends and neighbors gathered in a semicircle Sunday afternoon near where Damond died, with many more looking on from the sidewalk and street. Chalk hearts were drawn on the driveway pad.

Damond had relocated to Minneapolis. Her website advertised services including personal health and life coaching, as well as workshops for businesses.

The woman's son, Zach Damond, 22, said she was to marry his father Don Damond in August, although she had already taken his name.

"Basically, my mom's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know," Damond told the Star Tribune. "I demand answers."

Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges visited the scene, in a part of the city she once represented on the City Council. She said was "heartsick" and "deeply disturbed" by the shooting.

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Information from: Star Tribune, http://www.startribune.com

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