Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor is his precinct’s first Somali-Muslim officer. In a bizarre case, Noor shot and killed an unarmed woman in her pajamas who called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house.
Noor and his partner responded to the call. While she was speaking to Noor’s partner who was driving the patrol car, Noor shot across his partner from the passenger seat, striking and killing the 40-year old unarmed Aussie woman who made the 911 call. Noor’s partner was described as “stunned” by the shooting.
The County Medical Examiner is ruling the cause of death “homicide.” Noor has three complaints against him in his two years on the force.
The Minneapolis police officer said to be the one who fired the shot that killed 40-year-old Justine Damond Saturday night in southwest Minneapolis had three complaints on file, according to city records.
Multiple sources confirmed to KSTP Monday morning that the identity of the officer is Mohamed Noor.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s autopsy report, released Monday night, indicates Damond died from a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, and that the manner of death was a homicide.
Noor joined the department in March 2015 and is currently assigned to the 5th Precinct in the southwest part of the city.
City records show one complaint against him was dismissed with no disciplinary action being taken. The other two remain open.
Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau is calling the officer-involved shooting “clearly a tragic death.”
The chief said in a statement Monday afternoon:
I want to acknowledge the pain and frustration that family and community members have following the fatal officer involved shooting on Saturday night. This is clearly a tragic death.
I also want to assure you that I understand why so many people have so many questions at this point. I have many of the same questions and it is why we immediately asked for an external and independent investigation into the officer-involved shooting death. I’ve asked for the investigation to be expedited to provide transparency and to answer as many questions as quickly as we can.
A source with direct knowledge of the shooting said Monday the officer fired at least once, killing the woman. The source said that Noor was sitting in the passenger seat at the time of the shooting.
Noor reportedly shot across his partner who was the driver of the squad at the time. The shooting occurred at 11:30 p.m. Saturday.
Noor issued a statement through attorney Tom Plunkett Monday afternoon:
“Officer Noor extends his condolences to the family and anyone else who has been touched by this event. He takes their loss seriously and keeps them in his daily thoughts and prayers,” the statement read.
“He came to the United States at a young age and is thankful to have had so many opportunities. He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling. He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves. Officer Noor is a caring person with a family he loves and he empathizes with the loss others are experiencing.
“The current environment for police is difficult, but Officer Noor accepts this as part of his calling. We would like to say more, and will in the future. At this time, however, there are several investigations ongoing and Officer Noor wants to respect the privacy to the family and asks the same in return during this difficult period.”
According to a source, the driver of the squad car was Matthew Harrity. Harrity was announced as a community service officer in January 2016, according to a city bulletin.
At last check, according to sources, neither officer had spoken to BCA investigators about the incident.
City records show Harrity has one open complaint on file.
The officers were responding to a 911 call made by the woman who had reported possible assault in the alley in the Fulton neighborhood.
Noor and Harrity have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure after shooting such as this.
Noor is the first Somali-American police officer in the 5th Precinct. He has a degree is business administration and economics from Augsburg College.
According to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the incident, there have been 10 officer-involved shootings in 2017 so far in Minnesota. Those shootings include both fatal and non-fatal incidents. The BCA has investigated nine of those 10 incidents.
Meanwhile, there were 13 deaths from officer-involved shootings in 2016, 13 in 2015 and seven in 2014.
The BCA said the investigation into the incident continues and that additional details will be provided once interviews with the officers are complete.
The release said those interviews have been requested and the officers are working with their attorneys to schedule them.
The release again stated the officers’ body cameras were not turned on at the time and that squad video did not capture the incident. It continued to say the BCA investigation will not determine whether a law enforcement agency policy is violated.