Prosecutors in Minnesota are seeking to file a second-degree murder charge against a former Minneapolis Somali Muslim police officer who fatally shot Justine Damond in 2017 after she called for help. “The evidence in the case supports findings that the defendant, Mohamed Noor, knew exactly what he was doing and that he intended to do it.”
NBC News Mohamed Noor had been previously charged with third-degree murder and a manslaughter charge for shooting Justine Damond, 40, on July 15, 2017, after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in an alley behind her home.
Prosecutors on Thursday filed a motion seeking to amend the criminal complaint against him to add a charge of second-degree murder before his scheduled April 1 trial, saying that there is probable cause that Noor “intended to kill” Damond “when he aimed and fired at her.” The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office declined to comment because there is a gag order in the case.
With a third-degree murder charge, a jury could find Noor guilty if jurors determined that he had no idea who he shot at and that he killed Damond without sufficient justification, prosecutors said in the motion.
“The evidence in the case also supports findings that the defendant knew exactly what he was doing and that he intended to do it,” prosecutors wrote, adding that “the circumstances surrounding the crime show that the defendant acted with the intent to kill” and that he fired at Damond from no more than six feet away.
A call to Noor’s attorney was not immediately returned. He has said in a statement in March that the Damond’s death was a “tragedy” but that “the facts will show that Officer Noor acted as he has been trained and consistent with established departmental policy. Officer Noor should not have been charged with any crime.”
After Damond called police, Noor and his partner arrived in their sport-utility vehicle and she approached the SUV, officials have said.
Noor’s partner who was at the wheel said that he was startled by a loud sound just before Damond approached the open driver’s side window and that Noor fired from the passenger seat, striking her, state investigators have said.
The motion to add the second-degree murder charge filed Thursday says that Noor “fired with tragic accuracy, managing to send a 9 millimeter bullet across his partner’s body and through the narrow space of the open driver’s side window” and that Damond was struck in her torso and the wound caused almost immediate death.
A second-degree murder charge carries a maximum sentence of 40 years in prison if convicted; third-degree murder carries a maximum sentence of 25 years, according to the state Office of the Revisor of Statutes website.
Justine was a native of Australia who was living in Minnesota and about to be married to her American fiancee when she was murdered.
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