A judge has approved a second-degree intentional murder charge against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor in the death of Justine Ruszczyk in July 2017.
Noor was initially facing third-degree, unintentional murder and second-degree manslaughter.
With Hennepin District Judge Kathryn Quaintance's ruling Friday he's facing a more serious charge as well. Noor has not entered a plea.
He's the second police officer in Minnesota to face criminal charges for an on-duty shooting — after he shot and killed Ruszczyk, who called 911 to report a possible assault.
Reached by phone, his defense attorney, Thomas Plunkett, declined to comment on the developments.
• Last week: Prosecutors seek new murder charge against ex-Mpls. cop in Ruszczyk killing
• Full coverage: The shooting of Justine Ruszczyk and trial of Mohamed Noor
Prosecutors argued in a court document filed Nov. 29 a jury could convict for third-degree murder if it concluded Noor "had no idea who or what he shot." But they said that Noor intentionally fired at close range across his partner at the time, Matthew Harrity.
Noor shot Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, when she approached his squad after she called 911 to report a possible assault behind her home in Minneapolis.
Prosecutors said Noor "fired with tragic accuracy, managing to send a 9 millimeter bullet across his partner's body and through the narrow space of the open driver's side window."
Second-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison, while third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years. The penalty for second-degree manslaughter is 10 years or a $20,000 fine.