Family and friends are stunned by the shooting death of 32-year-old Christian Meroney at a South Austin apartment complex Monday.
Jackson Dyre-Borowicz, who knew Meroney for eight years, called him passionate, charismatic and well-loved — the last person anyone would expect to be killed in such a gruesome way.
“We had all talked to him before. No red flags, nothing that would have thrown suspicion or our sense of worry,” Dyre-Borowicz said on Wednesday. “This was an anomaly.”
Meroney was found shot at the Post South Lamar Apartments, where friends said he lived alone.
Austin police said they were called to the mixed-use complex for a shooting or stabbing at 1:45 p.m. and found Meroney with obvious trauma to his body, but they did not elaborate on the extent of his injuries.
Despite rescue efforts, Meroney died at the scene from a gunshot wound, police said. His death has been ruled a homicide. A suspect had not been identified at press time Wednesday.
Authorities are offering a $1,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest.
Dyre-Borowicz on Wednesday said friends were setting up a GoFundMe account to help increase the reward money. Several other friends have set up other accounts to raise money for the family and funeral expenses.
Meroney’s father, Mitch, said he was still in shock.
Christian “was a great person, a highly intelligent individual,” he said Wednesday. “He had lots of friends, a very social type person, loved his family, was a religious young man.”
Meroney grew up in the Dallas suburb of Rockwall but moved around as a kid before settling in Austin 10 years ago, his family and friends said. He was knowledgeable about contemporary issues, politics and history, Dyre-Borowicz said.
“That was sort of his gift, the ability to connect and bond with anybody and be knowledgeable on any topic you brought,” he said. “There were very few people that would say something negative about him.”
Meroney graduated from the University of Texas and was an avid sports fan, friends said.
Up until about 1:15 p.m. the day he died, Meroney had been active on the sports fan page Orangebloods.com, bantering about soccer, Dyre-Borowicz said.
The website at 1 p.m. Wednesday went offline during the Croatia vs. England soccer game for a moment of silence to honor Meroney.
“We are all really lamenting this loss because of just how bright of a light he was,” friend Bob Peck said Wednesday. “Christian was a guy that absolutely encapsulated the term ‘brotherhood.’ That’s why social situations were so effortless for him — he was fully, genuinely invested in making an authentic, substantial connection with you.”
Authorities are asking anyone with information about the shooting to call Austin police at 512-477-3588 or submit an anonymous tip through Crime Stoppers at 512-472-8477.