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Minneapolis police fatally shoot woman who called 911 to report possible sexual assault, source says

MINNEAPOLIS — A woman shot and killed by Minneapolis police had called 911 to report a possible crime near her home, a source who knew her said.

Justine Ruszczyk called 911 on Saturday night because she thought a sexual assault might be taking place in a back alley near her home, the source said.

But after Minneapolis police arrived, an officer shot and killed Ruszczyk.

Police still haven’t explained how, or why.

‘Working to learn more’

The Minnesota Department of Public Safety is handling the case. The shooting happened as two Minneapolis police officers responded to a 911 call reporting a possible assault shortly before 11 p.m., Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said.

The officers were wearing body cameras, but they were not turned on during the incident, the mayor said. Per department policy, body cameras are supposed to be turned on prior to use of force “as soon as it is safe to do so” or during “any contact involving criminal activity.”

“As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night,” Hodges said Sunday. “There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to.”

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau echoed the mayor’s concerns. She said the department has requested an expedited external, independent investigation to ensure transparency.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s Office has not released Ruszczyk’s autopsy report.

Shock in Australia

Ruszczyk was originally from Australia, though she was a US citizen because her father holds US citizenship, the source who knew her said.

Her death made headlines across Australia. The country’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is providing consular assistance to the woman’s family.

Ruszczyk had lived in the United States since April 2014, and was living with her fiancé at the time of her death, the source said. They were planning to marry in August.

‘She was a healer’

According to her website, Ruszczyk trained as a veterinarian and later became a yoga instructor and life coach. She worked at the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community in Minneapolis.