According to Raj Moonesinghe’s close friend and neighbor Jonathan De Wolff, Raj believed someone was in his home.
AUSTIN, Texas — Family and friends of man shot and killed by one Austin Police Department Officer on November 15 are looking for answers.
The family of 33-year-old Rajan Moonesinghe claim he was shot dead by officers without warning.
Police have now released body camera footage of the incident, which took place outside Moonesinghe’s South Austin home.
A caller to 911 told police that a man pointed a gun at his own home and was referring to Moonesinghe.
“Austin 911, do you need police, fire, EMS, or psychiatric services?” asked a 911 dispatcher.
“Police and possibly mental health,” replied a security guard nearby.
Dear, said Raj Moonesinghe, co-founder of kindShe had just returned to Austin from a trip to California.
“He called his friend and said, ‘I think there’s been movement in my house, I think there’s something going on,'” said Johann Moonesinghe, Raj’s brother, in an interview with NBC Nightly News.
According to Raj’s close friend and neighbor Jonathan De Wolff, Raj believed someone was in his home.
“I know he went to the house next door that security has set up and he asked them if they saw anything,” De Wolff said.
A security guard nearby told emergency services that Raj Moonesinghe had a gun and was pacing in front of the house.
“So now he’s pointing it at his house,” the 911 dispatcher asked.
“Yeah, looks like it. Oh, he just fired,” said the guard.
The video shows Raj Moonesinghe firing a rifle at his house. Officers arrived just as Moonesinghe fired a second shot. Body cam footage then shows APD officer Daniel Sanchez approaching Raj Moonesinghe from a distance, ordering him to drop the gun and then firing his department-approved firearm at him.
In an interview with NBC, Johann Moonesinghe said he was outraged to see the event play out in this way.
“The cop didn’t even call. He sneaked up in the dark with no lights or siren and shot him. Raj didn’t know he was there,” said Johann Moonesinghe.
De Wolff said this made him uneasy about potentially calling for help in the future.
“If I see someone in my neighborhood and I don’t know what’s going on and I feel like my instinct is to call the police, my instinct is not to call the police because I would have assumed that they would come over, see what’s going on and leave, don’t show up and kill the person,” De Wolff said.
His mother told NBC that she just misses her son.
“I just wanted to hold him. I just wanted to hold him and say I love you, thank you for being this amazing gift I’ve had,” Raj’s mother said.
Sanchez, who fatally shot Moonesinghe, is on administrative leave, which is common in such situations.
Austin Police Association President Thomas Villarreal sent KVUE a statement on the case:
“The Austin Police Association understands very well that every loss of life is tragic. I cannot imagine the pain that Mr Moonesinghe’s family is feeling right now. My heart also goes out to the officers involved in this case. Officers are dispatched there calls every day in which they encounter people in a variety of situations; some of which turn into deadly violent situations. The situation that Officer Sanchez found himself in is absolutely tragic for everyone involved.”
KVUE also heard from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, who represent Sanchez:
“CLEAT’s lawyers have responded to an incident on November 15 involving one of our members. We represent the Austin Police Officer and believe it is important to recognize that while this incident is a tragedy, the officer was trained to protect lives.”
Watch the full interview with Jonathan De Wolff here:
https://www.kvue.com/article/news/local/family-friend-man-killed-austin-police-speak-rajan-moonesinghe/269-e9261b56-56ad-4fb9-97aa-ccf32132a3d5 Raj Moonesinghe’s family share their thoughts on his death by shooting