Officer-involved shooting leaves one dead in South Austin

Austin police are investigating a deadly officer-involved shooting in South Austin.

Police said around on Nov. 15, around 12:28 a.m., officers responded to 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 described the man as a white male, wearing a gray robe and dark pants.

One minute later, at 12:30 a.m., officers were dispatched to this location. The caller said the man seemed to be scared of something inside his own home and was turning the outside lights on and off. 

The caller said the man was pointing his rifle at the interior of his home, then just fired into his own home. The caller said the police were on scene and the man fired again. 

Police said the man who fired the rifle was later identified as Rajan David Moonesinghe.

Two officers, driving separate marked police vehicles, arrived at around 12:33 a.m., three minutes after the initial call was dispatched. 

As one of the officers pulled up to the home, he heard gunshots. Two other officers exited their vehicles and sought cover while Moonesinghe, who was standing on the porch, continued firing a rifle.

The first officer to observe Moonesinghe, gave him a verbal command to drop the gun. Shortly after, the officer fired his department-approved firearm at Moonesinghe. He was struck and fell to the ground.

The second officer who had just exited his vehicle made contact with the first officer. The second officer gave verbal commands to Moonesinghe to show his hands, but the officers did not get a response.

Both officers saw the rifle on the ground near Moonesinghe.  

A third officer then arrived at the scene and all three officers approached Moonesinghe who was still located on the porch of the home with the rifle nearby. The officers immediately began life-saving measures.

Around 12:37 a.m., Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) arrived on scene and continued life-saving measures. ATCEMS transported Moonesinghe to a local hospital where he later died from his injuries. No one else was injured.

This incident was captured on body-worn camera. One officer discharged his department-approved firearm. Per APD protocol, the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The officer has two years and nine months of service with the department.

Johann Moonesinghe, his older brother and CEO of inKind, released a statement after viewing the body camera footage of the shooting:

"Yesterday, 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."

On Dec. 1, six videos were released by APD. The names of the officers involved were also released by APD: Officer Daniel Sanchez, Officer Stephen Markert and Officer Luis Brito.

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.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS, or use the new Crime Stoppers App.