For nearly two years, the former cop who fatally shot Australian life coach Justine Damond in Minneapolis has stayed mum. That changed Thursday, when Mohamed Noor made his first public remarks on the July 2017 shooting and what led up to it, speaking at his trial in a Hennepin County, Minn., courtroom, per the Australian AP. "Action is better than reaction," an emotional Noor said of the counter-ambush training he says led him to make a "split-second decision" to shoot Damond, 40, even though he didn't see her hands to determine if she was armed, per the Star Tribune. "If you're reacting, that means it's too late ... to protect yourself ... you die." Noor's lawyers have said that he heard a sound near his squad car shortly before the shooting, adding to his worry of a possible ambush.
Noor also said he saw "fear" in the eyes of his partner, who Noor said went for his own gun when they heard the "loud bang." When he looked outside the car, Noor said he saw a blonde woman with her arm raised, right outside his partner's window, and then "fired one shot. The threat was gone. She could have had a weapon." He said he acted to save his partner's life. What he felt when he finally found out Damond wasn't actually armed: "It felt like my whole world came crashing down. Great anguish. I had trouble breathing." More testimony is expected from Noor, a Somali American who has been charged with murder and manslaughter, on Friday. (Read more Justine Damond stories.)