BCA: Cop says his partner shot Damond after being 'startled by a loud sound'

The officer who fired has declined an interview with BCA agents.
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More than 60 hours after Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension – which investigates officer-involved shootings in Minnesota – has released a few more details about what happened Saturday night.

Based on a preliminary investigation and an interview with one of the officers at the scene, the BCA has confirmed the identities of everyone involved. Officer Mohamed Noor is the officer who fired, and he'd been with the department 21 months. Officer Matthew Harrity – who'd been with the department a year – was also on scene. Both have been placed on standard administrative leave.

There was a loud noise right before the shooting

The BCA says both officers responded after Damond called 911 to report a possible assault near her residence around 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

The officers arrived and drove through an alley in search of the suspect.

At one point, Officer Harrity said he was startled by a loud noise near the squad. That's also when officials say Damond approached the driver's side window of the squad and Officer Noor – who was in the passenger seat – fired.

The BCA says the officers immediately got out to provide medical assistance, but Damond was pronounced dead at the scene when medial professionals arrived.

Officer Noor declined an interview

BCA agents interviewed Officer Harrity, but Noor declined to be interviewed at this time. As the report explains, the BCA can't force officers into interviews.

Authorities didn't offer an explanation for why Noor didn't wish to speak. They say that's between him and his attorney.

Noor did give a statement Monday through his attorney.

Looking for another witness

The BCA is looking to speak with someone who may have witnessed some of this.

Officer Harrity told investigators they saw an 18 to 25-year-old white male who'd been biking eastbound on West 51st Street right before the shooting. Apparently this person stopped at the scene and watched as the officers provided medical assistance.

BCA agents would like to speak with this person, and anyone else who may have witnessed the incident. Witnesses are asked to contact the BCA at 651-793-7000.

Read the story from earlier Tuesday below.

It's been more than 60 hours since Justine Damond was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer outside of her residence Saturday night.

The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which investigates officer-involved shootings in Minnesota, has said officers went there on a report of a possible assault. They've said one officer fired their weapon, and that two are on standard paid administrative leave.

The cops' body cameras were not turned on, the BCA confirmed. Investigators found no weapons near Damond afterward. And the medical examiner said Damond died of a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

At this point, that's essentially all authorities have communicated about the shooting. On Monday Damond's fiance said he was "desperate for information." Even the mayor, Betsy Hodges, seems to be aware how little has been said, despite efforts to get answers out there.

How long does it usually take to get information?

Looking back at officer-involved shootings in Minnesota over the past 16 months, the BCA has generally given a substantial update in 1-3 days. Usually that consists of an explanation based on early evidence of what led up to the shooting, as well as the identity of any officers involved.

The Philando Castile shooting, for example. He was shot and killed the evening of July 6, 2016. The following day, the BCA laid out the early findings of its investigation into what happened, and also identified the officers involved.

Going a little further back, there's the Jamar Clark case in November of 2015. He was shot late on Sunday, Nov. 15, and later died. By Nov. 17 – less than 48 hours after the shooting – the BCA publicly confirmed Clark was unarmed, and said they were looking into whether he was handcuffed. And the day after that, the BCA identified the officers involved.

Some officer-involved shootings have a quicker turnaround time. This May 24 incident in Crystal was detailed one day later, and the shooting of Cordale Handy was detailed by the BCA the same day he was shot.

But it's also not rare for it to go three days before getting these types of details, such as in this July 10, 2017 Chisago County shooting, or this one in Vadnais Heights in April of this year.

Occasionally it takes a little longer for pieces of a case to be officially released. On April 21, 2016, the BCA released early investigative findings about an officer-involved shooting in Austin the day before. But it took them until April 25 – five days after the initial incident – to name the officers and subject.

So what happens next?

Tuesday night at 11:30 p.m. will mark about 72 hours since Damond was killed by a police officer. Going that long without more official information from the BCA isn't unheard of. But another day, and the length of silence creeps toward abnormal when compared with recent history.

GoMN reached out to the BCA for a comment about a possible timeline regarding more information in the Damond case, but has not heard back as of Tuesday evening. We'll update this post when we do get a response.

The BCA has said it will give more details once it has completed initial interviews with the officers.

The officer who reportedly fired his weapon that night, Mohamed Noor, gave a statement Monday through his attorney.

Police Chief Janeé Harteau – noting she has the same questions as everyone else – had this to say Monday: "I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. ... I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can."

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