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Raj Moonesinghe's family, friend share thoughts following police shooting death

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 a man shot and killed by an Austin Police Department officer on Nov. 15 are looking for answers.

The family of 33-year-old Rajan Moonesinghe claims he was shot by officers without warning.

Police have now released the body camera footage of the incident that took place outside of Moonesinghe's South Austin home.

A 911 caller told police that a man with a rifle was pointing it into his own home, referring to Moonesinghe.

"Austin 911, do you need police, fire, EMS, or mental health services," asked a 911 dispatcher.

"Police and possibly mental health," responded a nearby security guard.

Loved ones said Raj Moonesinghe, co-founder of InKind, had just gotten back to Austin after a trip to California.

"He called his friend and he said, 'I think something has been moved around my house, I think something is 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 neighboring house, who has the security detail set up, and he'd ask them if they'd seen something," said De Wolff.

A security guard nearby told 911 dispatchers that Raj Moonesinghe had a rifle, and was pacing in front of the home.

"So he's now pointing it inside his home," asked the 911 dispatcher.

"Yeah, looks like. Oh, he just fired," said the security guard.

The video shows Raj Moonesinghe firing a rifle into his home. Officers arrived as Moonesinghe fired a second shot. Body cam footage then shows APD Officer Daniel Sanchez approach Raj Moonesinghe at a distance, order him to drop the weapon and then fire his department-approved firearm at him. 

In an interview with NBC, Johann Moonesinghe said seeing the event unfold this way outraged him.

"The police officer didn't even announce himself. He snuck up with no lights or sirens, in the dark, and shot him. Raj didn't know that he was there," said Johann Moonesinghe.

De Wolff said this makes him uneasy about possibly calling for help in the future.

"If I saw someone in my neighborhood and I didn't know what was going on and I felt like my instinct would be to call the police, after this, my instinct is to not call the police because I would have assumed they'd come by, see what's going on and leave, not show up and kill the person," said De Wolff.

His mother told NBC 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 that I had," said Raj's mother.

Sanchez, who fatally shot Moonesinghe, is on administrative leave, which is standard in these situations.

The Austin Police Association's President Thomas Villarreal sent KVUE a statement about this case:

"The Austin Police Association understands very well that any loss of life is tragic. I cannot imagine the pain that the family of Mr. Moonesinghe is feeling right now. My heart also goes out to the involved officer in this case. Officers are dispatched to calls each and every day in which they encounter people in a multitude of situations; some of which become deadly force situations. The situation that Officer Sanchez found himself in is absolutely tragic for all parties involved."

KVUE also heard from the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, which is representing Sanchez:

"CLEAT attorneys responded to an incident on November 15th involving one of our members. We are representing the Austin Police Officer and believe it’s important to recognize that while this event is a tragedy, the officer followed his training in an effort to protect lives."

Watch the timeline of events as they happened with video and audio provided by APD below. The content is graphic so viewer discretion is advised.

Watch the full interview with Jonathan De Wolff here: 

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