Skip to main content

'You have stolen my daughter,' Justine Damond's dad says at memorial service

Hundreds of people gathered for a memorial service Friday evening.

Hundreds of people gathered at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis Friday evening to remember Justine Damond, the woman shot to death by police last month. 

Damond's father, John Ruszczyk, flew in from Australia and was among several to speak at the memorial.

"I should have been on a plane to her wedding, but we were flying to her funeral," Ruszczyk said, his hands trembling.

"This is our first visit to Minneapolis. We should be walking arm in arm down the streets smiling and laughing," he added. 

Ruszczyk went on to share some memories of his daughter. Like how she was compassionate and a great story-teller. 

He noted how his daughter also had a great love for animals and was a strong believer in what she called, "fuzz therapy" – or spending time with pets. 

"I want Justine to be here, but she’s been taken from us," he said. 

Seeking justice

While the majority of the service was remembering the 40-year-old Australia native, Ruszczyk made a point to say he'd be seeking justice for the death of his daughter. 

"You have stolen my daughter and ripped her from our arms,” he said.

She was to marry her fiancé, Don Damond, this Thursday.

Damond was fatally shot July 15 after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home in south Minneapolis.

Search warrants say a woman slapped the officers' squad car before Officer Mohamed Noor fired his weapon, killing Damond.

The Hennepin County Attorney will decide whether Noor faces criminal charges in this case, according to WCCO.

Next Up

State Patrol

2 killed after vehicle crosses center line near Silver Lake

A toddler in the vehicle survived the crash.

Screen Shot 2022-08-10 at 4.12.14 PM

The answer to winter woes: St. Paul's upcoming Palm Springs-style supper club

Take a first look at inside the menu at The Apostle Supper Club.

Muhammad Masood

Guilty plea: Ex-Mayo Clinic researcher tried to fly to Syria and fight for ISIS

Muhammad Masood, 30, pleaded guilty to attempting to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization in U.S. District Court Tuesday.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Man says he was pistol-whipped, robbed at gunpoint by trio

The incident allegedly happened in Brooklyn Park early Friday morning.

Melissa Turtinen - MN State Fair 2021

Is the State Fair heatwave real, or an urban legend?

Sven Sundgaard checks the data behind the notion that the State Fair is Minnesota's 'last summer hurrah.'

Stillwater Prison

Investigation after inmate found dead in cell at Stillwater prison

Drug paraphernalia was found by officers inside the cell.

2 (3)

Focus is on family fitness at this year’s Twin Cities Marathon

Don’t miss out on the running, racing and all the fun things to do for the whole family

Screen Shot 2022-08-18 at 2.29.47 PM

Family's tributes to mother killed by partner in St. Paul murder-suicide

The 30-year-old was killed by her partner, who then killed himself.

FatalEaganCrashSceneAug18

Eagan man killed after crashing into traffic signal

The 30-year-old crashed into a traffic light early Wednesday morning.

Melvin Carter

What's in Mayor Melvin Carter's budget proposal?

Here's what the St. Paul mayor is putting his focus on for the upcoming year.

Related

Harteau on Damond killing: 'Justine didn't have to die'

The police chief makes her first public appearance since Justine Damond was shot dead by an officer.

Officer who shot Justine Damond is in custody

Mohamed Noor is being held in a Hennepin County facility.

Family, police react to charges in Justin Damond killing

Minneapolis' police chief and Mayor Jacob Frey are among those who have spoken.

Timeline of Justine Damond's fatal shooting

Looking at the chain reaction that started with the beloved 40-year-old's death in July last year.

Justine Damond remembered on the anniversary of her death

A park bench was dedicated in her honor at Minnehaha Creek.

Witness of Damond shooting comes forward, talks to BCA

The witness had been biking through the area at the time of the officer-involved shooting.

Memorial services scheduled for MN student killed in Netherlands

Authorities say she was stabbed to death by her roommate.

Philando Castile's mother joins the march for Justine Damond

Valerie Castile shared a hug with Justine Damond's fiance Don Damond