05:20 - Source: CNN
How Justine Ruszczyk's friend heard of her death

Story highlights

Kat Kinnie says a reporter called her for a comment about longtime friend's death

"I think everyone's in shock," she says of friends' reaction to loss of Justine Ruszczyk

CNN  — 

A longtime friend of Justine Ruszczyk’s learned of the Australian woman’s death when a reporter called her about the fatal shooting by police that has generated global headlines.

“The way that I found out was through being contacted by someone, a journalist from The Sydney Morning Herald yesterday morning, UK time,” Kat Kinnie said Tuesday on CNN’s “New Day,” speaking via Skype from Bristol, England.

“She was asking me if I wanted to pay tribute to my friend Justine Ruszczyk Damond.”

Ruszczyk, an Australian living in Minneapolis, was killed by police Saturday night after calling 911 to report a possible sexual assault near her home, according to her fiancé, Don Damond.

“I didn’t really understand what was happening,” Kinnie told anchor Chris Cuomo, when the reporter contacted her. “I had to Google to find out what had happened. It was really, really, really, really confusing, and I called my friends in Sydney straight away.”

Kinnie said she had lost touch with Ruszczyk after she moved to the United States.

Still, Ruszczyk’s death has devastated her.

“I think everyone’s in shock. We’re just in shock. That’s probably the best way to describe where everyone is at the moment,” Kinnie said, describing her friends’ reactions after calling home.

The circumstances of her death make it even more painful for her friends, she said.

“She was such a beautiful light on this planet, and she was spreading so much love,” Kinnie said.