Family of man shot, killed on own front porch by APD officer pushes for answers

Family members and friends of a man shot to death by an Austin police officer are pushing for answers. 

His family said he was a gentle giant, and they don’t know why he was shot dead on his own front porch.

Family and friends said Rajan Moonesinghe was hardworking, a church goer, would help anyone in need, and his death is devastating.

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"It was just too young and too soon for him to go," Moonesinghe’s friend Tatiana Shoja said.

On Nov. 15, just a little after midnight, Austin police responded to a call about a man pointing a rifle down the street on South 3rd near Oltorf in South Austin.

"The caller stated that the subject was now firing his weapon and appeared to be firing it into a residence," Austin Police Chief Joseph Chacon said.

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Family members and friends of Rajan Moonesinghe, who was shot to death by an Austin police officer, are pushing for answers. 

According to the caller, Moonesinghe seemed to be scared of something inside his home. APD said when officers arrived, he was standing on his porch firing a rifle into his own home.

"Shots can be heard on the video that is coming from the officer's cameras as they are exiting their vehicles," Chief Chacon said.

APD said officers told Moonesinghe to drop the gun and when he didn’t, an officer shot him.

"Within seconds of officers arriving on scene, one officer engaged the subject by firing his duty firearm. The subject was struck and went down. Within a couple of minutes at 12:37 a.m., EMS was cleared to go ahead and come into the scene, and they also began life-saving measures," Chief Chacon said.

Moonesinghe was taken to the hospital where he later died.

Moonesinghe’s family describes him as, "The most caring, thoughtful, silly, loving, hardworking, and deeply admired person they’ve ever know."

"Raj was vibrant, young, handsome, kind, and just this fun, bubbly personality, but on top of it, extremely talented guy," Shoja said.

They said he was building a school for children in Zambia, started a company that helps small businesses, and loved to spend time with his family.

"All very loving and supportive family, which is kind of rare sometimes, but they are really for each other and Raj, he has this very kind vibe," Shoja said.

His family said Moonesinghe’s death leaves many questions, and they’re pushing the Austin Police Department for information on why they shot and killed their family member on his own front porch.

"I read the news and I cannot process it," Shoja said.

The officer who fired the gun has been placed on administrative leave and has been with the department for two years and nine months. Administrative and criminal investigations are being conducted. 

The police body camera footage has not been released yet.