The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot Australian woman Justine Damond has been formally charged with third-degree murder.

Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor was also charged with second-degree manslaughter. He reportedly turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Damond, 40, was shot dead after she called 911 and reported a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home, which she shared with her fiance. She died from a gunshot wound to the abdomen.

Noor himself has not spoken publicly about the case, and he has been on administrative leave since the shooting. His partner, officer Matthew Harrity, says that Noor was startled by a loud sound just at the moment Damond appeared at the window of their car. He says Noor fired through the open window, hitting Damond.

Damond’s father, John Ruszcyzk, and her fiance, Don Damond, issued a joint statement about the charges:

No charges can bring our Justine back. However, justice demands accountability for those responsible for recklessly killing the fellow citizens they are sworn to protect, and today’s actions reflect that.

Previously, prosecutor Mike Freeman as filmed telling a group of activists that he thought it would be difficult to successfully prosecute Noor:

I have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt [that] the moment he shot the gun, he feared for his life. And he used force because he thought he was gonna be killed,” Mr Freeman told the activists. But I can’t. He won’t answer my questions because he doesn’t have to, OK. We all have Fifth Amendment rights, and I respect that.

Noor’s bail has been set at $US500,000, and he is facing a maximum of 25 years in prison.

Image: Australian Associated Press