Austin police officer indicted in fatal shooting of restaurant tech entrepreneur
An Austin Police Department (APD) officer has been indicted in connection with a deadly shooting a little over a year ago.
KVUE Senior Reporter Tony Plohetski has confirmed that APD Officer Daniel Sanchez has been charged with deadly conduct in connection with the November 2022 death of tech entrepreneur Rajan Moonesinghe.
Brothers Rajan and Johann Moonesinghe co-founded InKind, a local financing and consulting group for minority-owned and underrepresented restaurants.
On November 15, 2022, police responded to Moonesinghe's home after a 911 caller said there was a man standing outside holding a rifle and pointing it at his own home.
When Officers Sanchez and Stephen Market arrived at around 12:30 am, they located the man — later identified as 33-year-old Moonesinghe — and Sanchez told him to drop the gun, according to police. Immediately after giving the command, body camera video released by APD showed Sanchez fire his department-approved gun at Moonesinghe, prompting him to fall to the ground.
APD said Markert gave Moonesinghe a verbal command to show his hands but did not receive a response. Officer Luis Brito then arrived at the scene, and all three officers approached Moonesinghe on the front porch and began life-saving measures.
Moonesinghe was taken to a hospital, where he died from his injuries.
Sanchez is on paid administrative duty.
Brad Heilman, Sanchez's defense attorney, shared the following statement following the indictment:
"On December 19, 2023, a Travis County grand jury under the direction of District Attorney José Garza indicted Austin Police Officer Daniel Sanchez for Deadly Conduct.
On November 15, 2022, Officer Sanchez responded to a 911 call of a man pointing a rifle down the street and at his home. The caller notified 911 that the man fired the rifle into his house. As Officer Sanchez and another officer arrived in front of the residence, they heard more gunshots. Officer Sanchez, first to arrive on foot, commanded the man to drop the gun. Officer Sanchez fired his rifle to neutralize the threat to himself, another officer, and the community.
An expert report was provided to the District Attorney by defense counsel in hopes the grand jury would be provided the report. The expert report detailed how Officer Sanchez's use of deadly force was objectively reasonable.
Read the full story and watch the video at KVUE.com. Brianna Caleri contributed to this report post-publication.