A horrifying video shows Austin tech entrepreneur Rajan ‘Raj’ Moonesinghe being shot dead by local police as he inspected the perimeter of his home for an intruder with a rifle in his hands.
Moonesinghe, 33, a successful tech entrepreneur who had moved to the wealthy South Austin neighborhood about five years ago, was killed on the front porch of his home on November 15. As he lay dying, he said the words: ‘It wasn’t me.’
At around 12.30am, Moonesinghe told a neighbor that someone was in his house and he was going to call 911, the WSJ reported.
Police arrived on the scene just five minutes later, moments after Moonesinghe fired two shots into his own living room – and four shots were fired that killed the businessman.
Across the street from his home, a private security guard for his neighbor had already called the police to report what Moonesinghe was doing.
The guard said in a call to a dispatcher: ‘He almost seems to be scared of something inside his house.
‘He’s pointing the rifle at the interior of his home,’ he said, before Moonesinghe called into his living room and fired shots inside.
Nearly as soon as they had arrived, Officer Daniel Sanchez shouted: ‘Drop the gun,’ though he began firing before he’d finished the sentence.
It is likely that Moonesinghe hadn’t heard anything before being hit since bullets travel faster than the speed of sound.
The 33-year-old of Sri Lankan descent was taken to the hospital, where he died shortly after from his injuries. No one else was harmed during the encounter and police did not find an intruder in the South Austin home.
The three reporting officers said they could see into the house because the front door was open.
According to a preliminary autopsy ordered by the victim’s family, Moonesinghe was hit four times. A full medical report is yet to be released by the county medical examiner.
The Austin Police Department has yet to comment on the shooting. Sanchez has been a licensed officer with the force for nearly three years. With him on the scene were Officers Stephen Markert and Luis Brito.
The shooting is still under investigation and Officer Sanchez is on administrative leave. His attorneys said he ‘followed his training in order to protect lives.’
The department has launched two investigations, one criminal conducted by the Special Investigations Unit and the District Attorney’s office, and one administrative, conducted by the department’s Internal Affairs Unit.
Austin Mayor Steve Adler called the fatality a tragedy, adding that he is waiting for more information before he arrives at an opinion.
‘I have a lot of questions, as I know the family does,’ he said. ‘Why did it happen?’
Together with his older brother Johann, Raj ran a financial technology company called InKind which provides upfront financing to restaurants.
The company has an annual revenue of $48million and had plans to increase its 50-person Austin staff to 180 employees by the end of 2023.
Following his brother’s tragic death, Johann is now unsure about the company’s future and is reluctant to ask anyone to relocate to Austin following the fatal shooting, because of safety concerns.
He has now established a fund in memory of his brother named the Rajan David Moonesinghe Foundation.
The goal of the organization is to prevent shootings like that of his brother from occurring again.
This could include investing in non-lethal police tools, implicit bias training, and putting up billboards across the country warning tech startups not to move to Austin.
Johann has vowed to use all of his resources to ensure no one else has to go through what he and his family are going through – adding that he would prefer to work with the city, ‘but if they’re not going to work with us, I will outspend them.’
The effort has raised $27,000 so far, not including a $1million commitment from Doug Ludlow, the CEO of small business-assistance company MainStreet, who had known Raj since he was a boy.
Ludlow told the Wall Street Journal that if Austin is unable to square its police force issues, there are other US cities in line to become the next startup hub.
‘There is massive competition to create new startup hubs. If it’s not a safe community, especially for people of color, you will not create a tech hub here. Full stop,’ he said.
‘There are a lot of victims in our position out there that I’m sure have gone through this and they haven’t had the resources we have,’ Johann said.
‘We’ll do whatever it takes to get our voice heard. When Raj was buried, I made a promise to him. I said, “Raj, I will be an unstoppable force of justice for you. And I will make sure this doesn’t happen to another family.”‘
Raj’s devastated family and friends launched a petition to indict officer Sanchez that has so far accrued nearly 7,000 signatures.
‘Officer Sanchez’s action killed our friend, and he must be held accountable,’ reads the petition, which goes on to describe Raj as ‘a deeply generous and kind person.’
‘Raj was not afforded even a millisecond to comply with orders to put down his rifle. He was defending his home, did not hurt anyone and, as his family/friends, we know he would have put down the gun if given the chance.’
A linked petition provides instructions for calling District Attorney Jose Garza to ask for an update on the case and why, more than 30 days after the fatal shooting, there has been no statement made by the office about the case proceeding to a grand jury.
Watch the shocking video below:
Cop acted like a cowboy, this is not the Wild West! Fire him and lock his ass up!
Cops brainwashed by the evil Democrats into thinking anyone holding a gun is a bad guy… or a gun holding a person in their illogic…
Is it just me or did the homeowner act in a strange way? Was there anyone in the house? Was Raj nder the influence of anything? The cop appears to fire too soon before any real danger to himself, but from the cops view, they hear and see a man with a rifle shooting INTO a house. It might be a fair assumption that a person outside firing into a house is the bad guy. What we can’t see is if when the officer begin saying “drop the gun…” did Raj make a move with the gun and in that split-second they fired? Earlier, Raj pointed the gun toward the street. Why would he do that if he then fired into his own home? I’m sure there’s more to this story and not just a “acted like a cowboy” situation. That is a major psychological impact when an officer kills a person, in particular when there are questions.