MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hundreds of mourners Friday night said goodbye to a yoga teacher who was killed in a police shooting that sparked international outrage.
Justine Damond’s family and neighbors walked in silence around Lake Harriet after a memorial service attended by hundreds at the lake’s band shell.
A Minneapolis police officer shot the 40-year-old spiritual healer from Australia last month after she called 911 to report a possible crime.
While heartache remains in Damond’s death, Friday night was meant to honor and celebrate her life. She was to be married this week in Hawaii.
“Everywhere she went and people she touched she did with a sense of joy and kindness,” said Don Damond, her fiancé.
In south Minneapolis and across continents, her story has reached millions.
“My name is Don Damond. I was to be married to Justine this Thursday,” he said.
But to those who knew Justine Damond best — like her fiance and father – she already meant the world.
“You have stolen my daughter and ripped her from our arms,” her father said.
As friends, family and strangers share what she means to them — her life’s mission of helping others is realized.
“Her role is to do some amazing things,” Jay Peterson, one of her yoga students, said.
She was a spiritual teacher to those around her, like Peterson.
“I always called her superstar because I felt like she was meant for a bigger stage than the Lake Harriet spiritual community,” Peterson said.
Her loved ones wish she was still here to do the work she cared about so deeply. But even in death, they know Justine Damond can make the world a better place.
Her family says they’ll fight for justice for Justine, but what they know is she wouldn’t want hatred or judgment. So they’ll lead with love.
Damond died after calling 911 about a possible rape. Officer Mohamed Noor shot her in the alley behind her house in southwest Minneapolis. Search warrants and interviews suggest the officer may have been startled when Damond slapped his squad car.
The Hennepin County Attorney will decide whether Noor faces criminal charges in this case.