BCA finishes Ruszczyk probe, sends case to Hennepin Co. attorney

A photograph of Justine Ruszczyk surrounded with colored roses
The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension says it completed its investigation into the shooting of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk by a Minneapolis police officer.
Maria Cardona | MPR News file

The Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension said Tuesday it has completed its investigation into the July 15 shooting death of 911 caller Justine Ruszczyk by Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor and turned it over to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, who will now consider whether to charge Noor with a crime.

Ruszczyk, known professionally as Justine Damond, had called police late on a Saturday night to report that she thought she'd heard a female yell help outside her home in the city's Fulton neighborhood, telling the 911 operator she was worried a woman was being attacked.

Minutes later Ruszczyk was dead, shot and killed by Noor, one of the responding officers.

A preliminary BCA report said Noor was in the passenger seat of the squad while his partner, officer Matthew Harrity, was driving. They drove through an alley near Washburn and Xerxes avenues with all their car's lights off.

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Harrity reported being "startled" by a sound coming from near their squad car, the BCA said. Right after, Ruszczyk reportedly came near the squad's driver's side window.

The death of Ruszczyk, a native of Australia, drew widespread international attention and shock.

The fallout from the shooting also led to the ouster of Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau, who'd been out of town at the time of the shooting and was criticized for not returning quickly enough.

In a statement Tuesday, Freeman said he and several senior prosecutors in his office will carefully review the BCA report to determine what, if any, charges might be brought. Last month, Freeman said he expected to decide by the end of the year whether to charge Noor.

The BCA said it will continue to work with Freeman's office as needed to provide any additional information in the investigation.