MINNEAPOLIS - Loving. Healing. Joyful. Spiritual.
A few of the ways family and friends from near and far described Justine Damond Friday night during a public memorial service at Lake Harriet in Minneapolis.
Damond, 40, was shot and killed by a Minneapolis police officer on July 15 after calling 911 to report a sexual assault in her neighborhood. Her death resonated both locally and in her home country of Australia. Evidence of that was on display during the service.
"Justine my daughter was killed by a bullet fired by an agent of the state. I don't understand. I should have been on a plane to her wedding but we were flying to her funeral," said Justine's father, John Ruszczyk, choking back tears. “I am reminded by Justine’s death that love is not bullet proof. We must work hard to protect the people we love.”
Justine moved to Minnesota to be with her fiancé, Don Damond, in 2015. The two were supposed to marry next week.
"It felt like a privilege to love Justine," said Damond, He shared with the crowd some of the optimism expressed in three or four pages of words she would free-write every morning.
Damond added he had "immense gratitude for being the one she chose."
“My love won’t stop and I don’t believe her love will stop. Because we feel it,” he added.
A banner above the band shell read, "Move from fear and survival to fascination and creation." An Australian flag stood on the sage next to a large color photo of Justine Damond and pink and white flowers.