Sunrise vigil held for Justine Ruszczyk Damond on anniversary of her death

Family and friends have gathered at a Sydney beach to remember Justine Ruszczyk Damond who was shot dead in a US alley by a Minneapolis police officer a year ago.

Holding pink flowers, dozens of people huddled around a large candlelit heart on the sand at Freshwater Beach, near Manly, at sunrise on Sunday to remember the 40-year-old former Sydneysider.

Ms Ruszczyk Damond was shot on the night of July 15 last year after she called 911 to report hearing a woman’s screams.

Family and friends gather on Freshwater Beach during a candlelight vigil for Justine Ruszczyk Damond on Sunday, July 15, 2018. Source: AAP
John Ruszczyk, the father of Australian woman Justine Damond Ruszczyk speaks to the media following a candlelight vigil. Source: AAP

Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor shot her dead when she approached his police car in the alley.

Noor was charged by prosecutors in March with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Her Sydney-based father John Ruszczyk spoke briefly on Sunday, saying he was waiting for justice.

“On the way to the beach this morning, the kookaburras were laughing. When we got here we experienced this beautiful sunrise and Justine, because of her senseless killing, will never see the sunrise or hear the kookaburras again,” he said.

“Our communities here at Freshwater and Minneapolis are waiting for judgments.”

In the US, Ms Damond’s fiance and friends held a similar vigil in Minneapolis.

Ms Ruszczyk Damond was shot on the night of July 15 last year.
Vigil attendees were sombre on Sunday morning at Freshwater Breach. Source: AAP