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August 22, 2017

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The American cop who shot dead an Australian woman 'is refusing talk'

SYDNEY -- The U.S police officer who allegedly shot dead an Australian woman outside her home in Minneapolis has refused to talk to investigators, a state government agency said Tue.sday.

Justine Damond, a 40-year-old meditation teacher, was shot dead late Saturday after calling local police to report that she believed a woman was being sexually assaulted near her home.

Agents had interviewed one officer, but the alleged shooter, Mohamed Noor, had "declined to be interviewed," according to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA), which is conducting the investigation at the request of Minneapolis police.

"Officer Noor's attorney did not provide clarification on when, if ever, an interview would be possible," a bureau statement said, adding that it could not "compell the testimony of either officer."

Damond died of a single gunshot wound to the abdomen, according to a preliminary investigation.

The agency said the two officers had approached Damond's house in a car, driven by Matthew Harrity, the other officer involved.

Harrity told the investigators that he was "startled by a loud sound near the squad" car right after Damond approached the vehicle on his side, the agency said.

Harrity said Noor shot Damond through the open window.

Damond was pronounced dead at the scene, the agency said, adding that both officers have been placed on standard administrative leave.

Questions have also been raised as to why body cameras on both the officers, as well as the car, were turned off during the incident.

Damond, originally from Sydney, had been living in the U.S. for three years and was due to marry her fiance next month.

In Australia, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull told local broadcaster Channel Nine that the government was demanding answers on behalf of Damond's family.

"This is a shocking killing. It is inexplicable," he said.

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