MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Hennepin County prosecutors are asking the court to add an intentional second-degree murder charge against the former Minneapolis police officer, Mohamed Noor, who shot and killed Justine Ruszczyk Damond last year.
According to court documents filed Thursday, the motion asks the court to permit an amendment to the criminal complaint to add a charge of intentional murder in the second degree. Currently, Noor is charged with third-degree murder.
In July 2017, Australian native Ruszczyk Damond had called 911 to report a possible sexual assault behind her southwest Minneapolis home. Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor and his partner Matthew Harrity responded to the 911 call. Police say when Ruszczyk Damond approached the squad car, Noor reached across his partner in the driver’s seat, then shot and killed Damond.
Both officers had body cameras, but they weren’t turned on. Prosecutors say Noor fired at Ruszczyk Damond from no more than six feet away, striking her in the torso five inches above her waistline and killing her almost immediately.
Noor’s attorneys say he acted reasonably when he shot Ruszczyk Damond.
However, prosecutors say Noor acted recklessly in using deadly force.
“As a trained police officer, the defendant was fully aware that such a shot would kill Ms. Ruszczyk,” the motion reads.
Noor’s defense attorneys filed motions they hoped would lead to the case against their client being dismissed, but a Hennepin County judge said in late September that the case against Noor would go forward.
Four elements must be proven in order for a person to be charged with second-degree murder. Court documents state the four elements involved in Noor’s case include Ruszczyk Damond’s death, that Noor caused her death, the death took place in Hennepin County, and Noor allegedly acted with the intent to kill Ruszczyk Damond.
According to Thursday’s court filing, in finding that there was probable cause for third-degree murder, the court has already proven the first three elements of second-degree murder. The motion also states Noor’s alleged intent to kill Ruszczyk Damond — the fourth element — can be “inferred from all the circumstances surrounding the event.”
“There is also probable cause for the fourth element; the defendant intended to kill Ms. Ruszczyk when he aimed and fired at her. A person acts with the intent to kill not just when they have the purpose of causing death, but also when they believe that their act, if successful, will result in death,” the filing reads.
Noor’s trial begins April 1, 2019.