The shooting of Justine Ruszczyk and trial of former officer Mohamed Noor

Noor trial: Emotions swell as court hears Ruszczyk's voice on tape

Mohamed Noor arrives for the first day of trial.
Former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor, center, is accompanied by his attorneys Peter Wold, left, and Thomas Plunkett, right, as he arrives for the first day of his trial for the killing of Justine Ruszczyk inside of the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on April 1, 2019.
Evan Frost | MPR News file

Update 1:30 p.m. | Posted 12:01 a.m.

Prosecutors for the first time in court played the 911 recordings of Justine Ruszczyk Wednesday as they continued to present their case against former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor.

Investigators say Noor, one of the police officers responding to Ruszczyk's 911 call, shot Ruszczyk through the open driver's side window of the squad. His attorneys say he was afraid for his and his partner's life when he fired his weapon.

Ruszczyk made two 911 calls to report what she thought was a sexual assault outside her home.

In the recordings, she sounded concerned that somebody was getting hurt and said she thought she heard someone calling for help.

Her family in the courtroom was visibly moved by hearing her voice on the tape, and appeared to be wiping away tears.

The court also saw crime scene pictures taken by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Noor is charged with second- and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of Ruszczyk, also known as Justine Damond, in July 2017.

Investigator Adam Castilleja at the Noor trial on April 10.
Investigator Adam Castilleja points to a photo of the alley where Justine Ruszczyk was killed in July 2017 during the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor on Wednesday.
Cedric Hohnstadt for MPR News

During opening statements Tuesday, Assistant Hennepin County Attorney Patrick Lofton recounted Ruszczyk's fatal encounter with police, approaching the squad car in the alley behind her home barefooted with just a gold iPhone in her hand — the same phone she had just used to call 911.

Her final words, Lofton said, were "I'm dying."

Defense attorney Peter Wold countered that Noor and his partner, Matthew Harrity, were concerned about being ambushed.

Wold described the alley in his opening statement Tuesday as narrow, dark and silent. He said that there was a loud thump on the squad car and that Noor's partner, Matthew Harrity, exclaimed, "Oh Jesus."

Wold said that Noor reacted to his partner's fear and to seeing a figure with a raised arm outside the window. That's when he fired.

Prosecutors, however, argued that the thump was a story that was made up later — that no police at the scene that night talked about a thump on the squad. Lofton told jurors that experts will testify Ruszczyk, who was in her pajamas, could not be considered a threat.