A TRAUMATISED neighbour of Justine Ruszczyk Damond has described the Australian woman's death as "an execution".
The bride-to-be's Minneapolis neighbourhood is in shock over the fatal shooting by a local police officer, as an autopsy has ruled her death a homicide.
"This individual died of a gunshot wound of the abdomen," the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office said on Monday. "Manner of death is homicide."
The ruling comes as the officer who fired at Ms Damond, Mohamed Noor, has broken his silence.
The inexperienced officer joined the Minneapolis Police Department a little over two yeas ago. He is believed to have been sitting in the passenger seat of a police car when he shot across his partner killing Ms Damond, local media has reported.
This morning, his lawyer Tom Plunkett released a statement saying Noor took the loss of Ms Damond and the affect on her family "very seriously".
"He takes these events very seriously because, for him, being a police officer is a calling," the statement read. "He joined the police force to serve the community and to protect the people he serves."
Mr Plunkett also said in the statement there were "several investigations ongoing" around Noor, as previous complaints against the officer, including an open case filed to the US District Court just last month, have surfaced.
DEVASTATED FAMILY 'DESPERATE FOR ANSWERS'
Noor's first public comments followed an emotional statement from Ms Damond's fiance, who was damning of how authorities have handled the Sydney woman's death.
Heartbroken husband-to-be Don Damond, 50, of killed Australian woman Justine Ruszczyk Damond has made an emotional statement about the loss of his fiancee, saying his family is "utterly devastated".
Mr Damond made the statement outside his Minneapolis home where his fiancee, 40, was gunned down by a local police officer on Saturday night after calling 911 for help.
Mr Damond's first public comments come as the officer who shot Ms Damond has also broken his silence, and audio captured by Minneapolis emergency dispatch files reveal how quickly the shooting happened.
The Sydney woman's grieving partner revealed she had called 911 on Saturday when she heard noise in the alley behind the family home.
"Our hearts are broken and we utterly devastated by the loss of Justine," he said.
"As you know, it was Justine who called 911 on Saturday evening, reporting what she believed was an active sexual assault occurring nearby."
Mr Damond was damning of police officers, saying the family have been provided with "almost no additional information from law enforcement regarding what happened after police arrived".
"We've lost the dearest of people and we're desperate for information," he said.
"Piecing together Justine's last moments before the homicide would be a small comforts as we grieve this tragedy."
Mr Damond said Justine's death was a loss to everyone who knew her.
"She touched so many people with her loving and generous heart. She was a teacher to so many and living a life of openness, love and kindness," he said.
"She was so kind and so darn funny. It is difficult to fathom how to go forward without her in my life."
POLICE RADIO RECORDS JUSTINE'S LAST MOMENTS
Scratchy audio of a police radio conversation uploaded to a Minnesota website that monitors the state's police scanners and posts online, offers some insight into the police operation that followed.
The call begins just before 11.28pm on Saturday night, when the bride-to-be is believed to have called 911. A dispatcher can be heard directing officers to a "female screaming behind the building".
Only about 30 seconds later, an officer reports from the scene: "shots fired".
The officers at the scene call for other units to make their way to the address, saying: "Code 3, Washburn and 53rd St."
It then becomes clear that a person has been shot.
"One down," an officer can be heard to say. After about a minute, an officer reports: "No suspects at large."
A mobile phone reportedly found near Ms Damond's body raised the prospect police thought it was a gun. No weapons were found at the scene.
Noor and his unidentified partner, whose cameras were not turned on during the shooting, have been placed on paid administrative leave.
Noor joined the Minneapolis Police Department in March 2015 and is the first Somali-American police officer assigned to the 5th Precinct in the southwest part of the city.
Noor's lawyer, Tom Plunkett, confirmed Noor fired his weapon, killing Ms Damond, who was originally from Sydney's Northern Beaches.
"We take this seriously with great compassion for all persons who are being touched by this," Mr Plunkett said.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is conducting the investigation, said in a statement that "initial interviews with officers" still weren't complete two days after the shooting.
The BCA said an autopsy has been conducted on Ms Damond's body, adding their investigation "does not determine whether a law enforcement policy was violated".
Ms Damond's soon-to-be stepson, Zach Damond, was approached by local media outside his home on Monday.
When asked by Fox 9 what he'd like to say to Noor, he said: "Why? Why would you do this? He has no idea the impact that he has on thousands of people. No idea.
"But I hope that he wakes up every single day and thinks about it. And then I hope that he thinks about how he can be a better person because that's what she did every single day. And if you don't do that, you're not even living either."
It comes as the devastated family of Ms Damond, who was just weeks away from her wedding, demanded a federal investigation into how she died in her pyjamas.
Ms Damond had called for help after hearing what police said was "a possible assault" in a lane outside her home in southwest Minneapolis. Local media reported she was speaking through the door of their patrol car to the driver when she was shot.
On Monday morning, a steady stream of neighbours and friends arrived to lay flowers and tributes where Ms Damond was killed. Many expressed shock at the murder in their quiet middle class neighbourhood.
"This was not a woman who would have presented any kind of threat to police. She was a gentle, loving person," said Joan Hargrave, who lived down the street and befriended Ms Damond a year ago through a shared love of dogs.
Laurie Engel, who lives across the street from the driveway where Ms Damond fell, said she didn't hear a shot but watched in horror as police swarmed the area following the shooting.
"I was struck by the size of the body lying under the blanket there, I thought at first it must have been a child," she said.
"It was only later that I realised it was Justine, and it was such a shock. She didn't deserve this to happen."
Ms Damond was killed on a driveway about 60m down the back alley from the bungalow she shared with Don Damond and stepson Zach.
A crowd of more than 100 gathered at a vigil yesterday to remember the corporate speaker and meditation teacher, who moved from Sydney's Northern Beaches three years ago and was to marry US businessman Don Damond, 50, next month.
"This woman was a beautiful light. She was a healer, she was loved, she should be alive - she should still be here," said neighbour Bethany Bradley.
Damond's soon-to-be stepson Zach posted a poignant video about his "best friend", who had previously spoken out about America's gun culture.
"Basically my mum's dead because a police officer shot her for reasons I don't know," he said.
The two officers involved in the shooting were immediately placed on administrative leave while the local Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigates.
Don Damond, the vice president of Little Six Casino, was away on business when his partner was murdered and arrived at their home yesterday afternoon.
A family friend, who only wanted to be identified as Hannah, described the couple as "just so in love".
Among the many questions Damond's family asked yesterday were why the officers' body cameras weren't turned on. Activists were among the mourners outside the Damond home yesterday, and they quickly linked her name with other high profile victims of police shootings.
Large love hearts were chalked onto the driveway near where Damond fell, with the names Jamar Clark and Philando Castile, whose killings at the hands of police sparked protests and marches.
Hannah, 21, said she was a friend of Zach's and echoed the questions of many.
"I don't know what she was doing out," Hannah told the local Star Tribune newspaper.
"She's such a kind woman. She took me in when I was in a tough situation and helped me with whatever I needed."
Zach Damond described his future stepmother - who had already changed her surname on her business website ahead of her wedding - as "a very passionate woman".
"I just know she heard a sound in the alley so then she called the police and the cops showed up and she was a very passionate woman," he said.
"She probably thought something bad was happening and then next thing I know they take my best friend's life."
Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges also questioned why the officers' cameras weren't filming and vowed to get answers on behalf of Damond.
"As mayor of our city, a wife, and a grandmother, I am heartsick and deeply disturbed by what occurred last night," Mayor Hodges said at a press conference yesterday.
'There are still many questions about what took place, and while the investigation is still in its early stages, I am asking the BCA to release as much information, as quickly as they are able to."