On the night Rajan Moonesinghe was killed by police, he had committed no crime and appeared to be investigating a potential break-in at his own home. Unfortunately, however, the fact that Moonesinghe had harmed no one was of no consequence to the Austin police officer who showed up that night and killed him.
Moonesinghe was a successful Texas entrepreneur who had just returned home from a business trip. The 33-year-old and his brother Johann Moonesinghe founded inKind, an Austin-based business that helps restaurants access capital without traditional investment or loans.
On the night he got back from his trip, Moonsesinghe suspected his home had been burglarized. Instead of getting help from police, however, he received multiple gunshots.
“Drop your gun!” yelled the officer as he simultaneously pulled the trigger to his AR-15 multiple times, killing Mooneshinghe. Mooneshinghe’s family has been asking for accountability and answers since that fateful night on Nov. 15.
According to police, they were responding to a 911 call from a neighbor of Moonesinghe. The caller said Mooneshinghe approached him before the call and asked if he saw anything suspicious. In fact, Mooneshinghe’s own surveillance cameras capture the homeowner looking around his home, clearly thinking there may have been intruders.
Prior to officers arriving, Moonesinghe appeared to fire off two rounds into his own home. His family says this was because he thought there were intruders inside and was firing warning shots.
El Khattary, a friend of the Moonesinghe brothers and neighbor to Rajan, told local media that the area had recently experienced several break-ins. Khattary said he caught a man fleeing his backyard recently and that all the neighbors were on “high alert.”
“We were all on high alert,” Khattary said. “I know he was concerned about that in previous conversations with him.”
Unfortunately, Moonesinghe’s concern for his safety and the security of his own property would get him killed after he grabbed his AR-15 to defend himself against a potential break-in.
As the body camera and surveillance footage shows, the officer showed up without his lights on that night. He never once identified himself and appeared to have stalked Moonesinghe on his own property.
When he rounded the corner and saw Moonesinghe on his property, he yelled, “drop the gun!” at the same time he fired off several rounds. After putting multiple rounds into the innocent homeowner, officers then yelled at the dying man to “show me your hands now!”
Moonesinghe, unable to move, uttered his final words, “you got the wrong guy.”
After the shooting, police identified the officer who shot Moonesinghe as APD officer Daniel Sanchez.
“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,” police said.
Sanchez is now on paid administrative leave as two separate investigations unfold. According to reports, one is a criminal investigation by the department’s Special Investigations Unit in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney’s Office. The second is an administrative investigation conducted by the department’s Internal Affairs Unit, with oversight from the Office of Police Oversight.
Sanchez’s police union-appointed lawyers have already begun damage control and claim that the officer, who fired without announcing himself and essentially without warning, “followed protocol.”
“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,” the statement said.
Watch the video below and see for yourself whether or not Sanchez followed protocol.