AUSTIN (KXAN) – On Monday, the Austin Police Department released new details about a fatal Nov. 15 police shooting in the 2200 block of S. Third St. in south Austin.
At about 12:28 a.m. that day, APD got a call about a man with a gun. The caller said the man seemed to be scared of something inside his own home before pointing his rifle inside and firing.
Austin Police identified the man killed as 33-year-old Rajan David Moonesinghe.
APD said two officers arrived at the scene, and as one of the officers pulled up to the residence, he heard gunshots and realized he was in front of Moonesinghe.
“Both arriving officers then drove past the residence. The two officers exited their vehicles and sought cover while Mr. Moonesinghe, who was standing on the porch, continued firing a rifle,” APD said.
An officer gave Moonesinghe verbal command to drop the gun before firing his department-approved firearm at Moonesinghe. According to APD, Moonesinghe was struck and fell to the ground. The rifle was also on the ground at his side.
APD said another officer gave verbal commands to Moonesinghe to show his hands but did not receive a response. Officers then began life-saving measures, according to APD.
The Moonesinghe family released a statement to KXAN, writing it will “push” APD for all information related to Moonesinghe’s death.
“On November 15, 2022, our son, brother, and uncle, Raj Moonesinghe, was shot in the back by police officers on his own front porch. He suffered terribly and was transported to the hospital where he succumbed to his gunshot wounds. No words can accurately capture the sorrow we feel and the love we hold in our hearts for the most caring, thoughtful, silly, loving, hardworking, and deeply admired person we’ve ever known. Losing him is a devastating blow to our family, leaving behind a niece and nephews who deeply admired him.
“We also mourn for all that Raj would have done with the rest of his life. He would have continued working on the school for children he was building in Zambia and sharing in the students’ love of soccer. He would have continued working with his brother at the company they started, inKind, to support small businesses and foster a community. Also, he would have spent time with his family: playing dolls with his niece, watching his nephew play college soccer, teaching his other nephew how to BBQ, enjoying Formula 1 with his dad, and taking care of his mother. He was a gentle giant who helped anyone in need, a church-goer who helped build a fence around his pastor’s home, a dog dad to his beloved Goldendoodle, and a support for his friends, family, and neighbors. Raj was the type of person who wouldn’t eat until everyone else in the room had taken food for themselves, and who would show up at the end of an event to help clean up even if he didn’t attend. Acts of service were his life passion, and all those he touched were blessed by his presence.
“Raj’s passing leaves behind many questions. We will push the Austin Police Department for all information surrounding his untimely and tragic passing. We deserve answers regarding why they shot and killed our beloved Raj on his front porch.”Statement from the Moonesinghe Family
The front door of the home was open, and officers could see inside. There was no one was found inside, according to police.
Austin-Travis County EMS arrived at the scene at 12:37 a.m., and Moonesinghe was taken to the hospital where he was later pronounced dead from his injuries.
“The rifle observed on the ground near Mr. Moonesinghe and several spent shell casings were recovered and seized as evidence,” police said.
According to APD, the shooting was captured on police body-worn camera.
The officer who fired at and hit Moonesinghe was put on administrative leave, per APD policy. The officer has two years and nine months of service with the department, according to APD.
“APD will conduct two concurrent investigations into this incident: a criminal investigation conducted by the APD Special Investigations Unit in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office and an administrative investigation conducted by the APD Internal Affairs Unit, with oversight from the Office of Police Oversight,” APD said.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (512) 472-TIPS or use the new Crime Stoppers App.