MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – For the first time, Justine Ruszczyk Damond’s father is speaking out about an apology from the man who shot and killed her.
A judge sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor to 12 years in prison. He fatally shot Ruscyczk Damond after she called 911 in 2017.
Her father, John, sat down in her native Australia to speak with Australia Broadcast Corporation to respond to what happened last week 9,000 miles away.
“We are satisfied that he’s received the maximum penalty under law and for that we are grateful,” John Ruscyczk said. “It showed that the court was paying attention to what the prosecutors presented and what the jury had listened to and decided was the correct response to this obscene act.”
In court last week, Noor apologized to the family in front of a judge.
“I can’t apologize enough and I will never be able to make up the loss I caused for Miss Ruscyczk’s family,” Noor said.
Ruscyczk responded to the apology.
“Ugh, the apology is inappropriate, it doesn’t bring back my daughter,” Ruscyczk said. “As one of my friends said, ‘John, how long should he stay in jail? You should say when my daughter comes back, he can go.’ I don’t care, I don’t want him to spend too much time in jail if my daughter’s around, but my daughter’s not, but under those circumstances he has to pay a penalty.”
Circumstances he says he still does not understand.
“What happens in that station house that they tell you, ‘Whatever you do, you have to make sure you come back home,’ but don’t they say, ‘Whatever you do, don’t kill someone,'” Ruscyczk said.
Amid his sorrow, Rusczcyk says he has found a depth of comfort during his visits to Minnesota along the shores of Lake Harriet from strangers who approach him praising Justine.
“Those people made me aware that they cared that Justine had been taken from us, taken from me, our family and from everyone because she was such a bright light, she was such a good person,” Ruscyczk said.
Rusczcyk Damond’s family received $20 million to settle a lawsuit with the city. Two million will go to an organization that works to prevent gun violence.