Rajan Moonesinghe was a tech entrepreneur who was shot and killed by Austin, Texas, police officer Daniel Sanchez, a death captured on video.
You can see the ring and body camera videos below, but be aware that they are graphic and disturbing because they show the moment that Moonesinghe was shot by police. According to KVUE-TV, Moonesinghe’s family says he told a friend he believed there was an intruder inside his home. When police arrived, he was standing outside with a gun.
Moonesinghe, who founded a restaurant and dining pass called InKind, was shot and killed by Austin police on November 15, 2022.
All of the videos and other materials, including the 911 call audio, released by Austin police in the case can be found here.
As of December 20, 2022, the shooting was still under investigation, according to KVUE.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Ring Camera Video Shows Moonesinghe With a Gun Before Being Shot by Police
Multiple videos were released, inclding a ring camera and body cam videos.
In the ring camera video, Moonesinghe walks back around the corner of the house.
“Yeah you want this? Are you sure. My God you’re f****** stupid,” he said pointing the gun again.
A gunshot rings out. And then another one.
He walks back toward the front of the house. Gunshots ring out from police. “Drop the gun” is said almost simultaneously.
Moonesinghe drops to the ground and out of the view of the camera. “It wasn’t me f***,” he says.
“Suspect is down, hands are up,” an officer says off camera.
“Show your hands, do it now.”
“It wasn’t me,” says Moonesinghe.
“Hey come to us, come to us. Gun’s on the ground,” an officer says.
2. Daniel Sanchez Was Named as the Austin Police Officer Who Shot & Killed Moonesinghe
In a press release, The Austin Police Department (APD) released a slew of materials in the shooting death.
“The Officer who discharged his Department approved firearm is Officer Daniel Sanchez,” police wrote.
The release gives this chronology of events:
At approximately 12:28 a.m., Austin 9-1-1 Communications received a call regarding a man with a gun across the street from 2301 South 3rd Street in the area of 2nd Street and Fletcher Street. The caller stated a white male, wearing a grey robe and dark pants was pointing a rifle down the street. At 12:30 a.m., APD officers were dispatched to the call.
The caller remained on the phone line with Austin 9-1-1 Communications while officers responded to the scene. The caller said the man was pointing his rifle at the interior of his home. The caller then stated the man just fired into his own home. The caller said the police were on scene and the man fired again. The man who fired the rifle was later identified as Rajan David Moonesinghe. The address where Mr. Moonesinghe was located was later identified as 2216 South 3rd Street.
Officer Daniel Sanchez and Officer Stephen Markert, driving separate marked police vehicles arrived at approximately 12:33 a.m., three minutes after the initial call was dispatched. As Officer Markert pulled up to the residence, he heard gunshots and realized that he was directly in front of where Mr. Moonesinghe was located. Both Officer Sanchez and Officer Markert then drove past the residence. Officers Sanchez and Markert exited their vehicles.
Officer Sanchez was the first to observe Mr. Moonesinghe and gave him a verbal command to drop the gun. Immediately after telling Mr. Moonesinghe to drop the gun, Officer Sanchez fired his Department approved firearm at Mr. Moonesinghe. Mr. Moonesinghe was struck and fell to the ground.
Officer Markert who had just exited his vehicle made contact with Officer Sanchez. Officer Markert gave verbal commands to Mr. Moonesinghe to show his hands. The officers did not receive a response from Mr. Moonesinghe. Both officers observed the rifle on the ground near Mr. Moonesinghe. Officer Brito then arrived on scene and all three officers approached Mr. Moonesinghe who was still located on the porch of the residence with the rifle nearby. The officers immediately began life-saving measures.
The front door was open and officers could see into the residence. Officer Brito gave verbal commands from the open front door to check for anyone who may have been injured or inside of the residence. Officers checked the residence and did not locate anyone inside the residence.
At approximately 12:37 a.m., Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) arrived on scene and continued life-saving measures. ATCEMS transported Mr. Moonesinghe to a local hospital where Mr. Moonesinghe succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. Civilians and officers on scene did not sustain physical injuries.
The rifle observed on the ground near Mr. Moonesinghe and several spent shell casings were recovered and seized as evidence. This incident was captured on both body-worn camera, dash camera, and other video sources. Body-worn and dash camera videos do not always capture everything the officer or witnesses saw or experienced during the incident; however, the footage helps us understand what occurred.
In compliance with state law that prohibits the release of certain information and to maintain the integrity of the investigation, the materials have been redacted. The materials include comprehensive footage of the officers’ actions and contain graphic content and language. Viewer discretion is advised.
3. Moonesinghe’s Brother Is Investing Millions of Dollars Into Police Reform
According to KVUE-TV, Moonesinghe’s brother is starting a foundation to invest “millions of dollars into police reform.” The brother co-founded the “inKind” app with Rajan, the television station reported.
The family says that officers did not give him proper warning before shooting Moonesinghe.
Rajan’s brother, Johann Moonesinghe, described to KVUE-TV how the death has affected him.
“I took off work for the first time,” Johann told the television station. “It’s just been really, really hard. Nobody would’ve ever expected this, and I think it’s been even more difficult because it’s been a fight with police to get answers, to figure out what’s going on.”
After the shooting happened, Moonesinghe’s friend Drew Peters released a statement from Johann on Facebook. It reads:
My friend Raj Mooresighn was gunned down by Austin Police Department officer Daniel Sanchez on his own doorstep. The officers gave no fair warning, pulled up without lights or sirens on, did not identify themselves, and executed a successful young entrepreneur who never even pointed his weapon at them. Travis County District Attorney’s Office needs to act NOW! Please help make this story go viral so there can be #JusticeforRaj. I will miss watching hoops and talking shop with you at our favorites Pershing, Whistler’s, & Soho, brother.
Moonesinghe’s older brother, Johann, released a statement:
I had the opportunity to view the police footage and security footage of the last minutes of my brother’s life. As difficult as that was, it was an incredibly important step towards finding out the truth of the events leading up to his murder by police on November 15, 2022. The video clearly shows that Raj never threatened the officers, he didn’t even know they were there. I’d encourage everyone to watch the videos being released today to make their own judgments. Thank goodness Raj had his Ring security camera on his porch because, without it, the police would have continued to lie about what happened that night. After watching the video, it is evident that the officer who shot Raj did this without identifying himself, without thinking, and before giving my brother a chance to explain who he was and why he was outside. Instead, he arrived without flashing lights or sirens, pulled out an assault rifle, took a hidden defensive position behind a fence 25 yards away, and killed my brother. He began firing before finishing his command to ‘drop your gun’ and continued to fire once Raj had dropped his gun and put his hands up and continued to fire once Raj had dropped his gun and put his hands up. It’s clear from the security footage that Raj didn’t even know the police officer was there. His last words as he lay on the ground were ‘it wasn’t me.’ Instead of getting justice for Raj, the Austin Police Department continues with its attempts to cover up what happened. The security footage they released today is an edited version that intentionally removes the interaction that Raj had with his neighbor one minute beforehand where he told her there was someone in his house and yelled into his home, ‘I’m calling the police, get out of my house.’ It is beyond comprehension that the police acted this way. The police knew he was the homeowner concerned with a potential intruder. They shot first and asked questions later. As an Austinite myself, I’m outraged to think that these are the people tasked with protecting our community. Raj was a loving son who took care of our parents financially and the co-founder of a very successful tech company which we moved to Austin in 2018. We ask the City and the District Attorney to do their jobs and hold the officer accountable. Otherwise, these senseless shootings will continue and more innocent people will be shot and killed by Austin police officers.
4. Moonesinghe Grew Up in Los Angeles & Started a Farm in Rural Zambia to Help Local Villages
According to his obituary, Rajan David Moonesinghe grew up in Los Angeles, California.
“He attended Palm Crest Elementary and graduated from La Canada High School in 2007. He obtained a Bachelor’s degree from the University of San Diego, in a city he loved and visited often,” the obit says.
“His kindness, generosity, and sense of duty to those less fortunate traveled with him. As a teenager he journeyed to East Africa with his mother and six members of his church, where he donated soccer gear that he had collected from local teams in California.”
The obit says he purchased a farm in rural Zambia in 2021 to “build up infrastructure, trade, and commerce for the nine local villages. Goshen is set to build a school for local children, a medical clinic, and employ and educate locals with sustainable agriculture systems.”
He was described as a person who adored his family. “He flew his father to Austin every year to watch Formula 1 races. He was at his happiest eating his mom’s food, and she was his favorite dance partner at weddings and partie,” the obit says.
5. Moonesinghe Helped Start a Financial Technology Company Called InKind
According to his obituary, “Raj was immensely proud of inKind, the financial technology company he founded with his brother, Johann, in 2015.”
He moved to Austin, Texas “to grow the business, building it to an organization of more than 70 employees, financing over 600 restaurants throughout the country,” the obit says.
“In the last 12 months, Raj helped to raise over $150 million for inKind. He was a natural athlete, a talented soccer player, snowboarder, hockey player and golfer. He loved baseball (go Dodgers), basketball (Laker fan from birth) and would wake up at dawn to watch Chelsea FC matches.”
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