Texas police officer indicted in fatal shooting of man on his front porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — An Austin, Texas, police officer has been indicted for deadly conduct in the fatal shooting of a man standing on his own front porch.

A grand jury indicted Austin police Officer Daniel Sanchez on Wednesday in Rajan Moonesinghe’s death.

Video and audio show Austin police officers arrived at Moonesinghe’s home in November 2022, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Moonesinghe, who was holding an AR-15-style weapon.

Officers were responding to a 911 call requesting police and mental health support because a man was holding a long gun outside in the residential neighborhood. The caller, who was not identified in the recording, said the man had approached him earlier in the day to ask if he had noticed anything suspicious in the area.

Ring security camera footage released by police shows Moonesinghe had just fired two shots into his home and had been speaking in the direction of his house while pointing the gun inside, but it is not clear why.

Body camera footage released by police shows officers running to the porch and attempting life-saving measures after shooting Moonesinghe.

Officers checked Moonesinghe’s house and didn’t find anyone inside, police said.

Associated Press calls and emails to the local prosecutor were not immediately returned Thursday.

A spokesperson for Moonesinghe’s family did not immediately comment Thursday. But his older brother Johann Moonesinghe previously said that officers “shot first and asked questions later” and called on prosecutors to hold Sanchez accountable.

Sanchez’s lawyer, Brad Heilman, said the officer “fired his rifle to neutralize the threat to himself, another officer, and the community.”

“I am fully confident when a jury hears all of the facts in this case, Officers Sanchez will be exonerated,” Heilman said.

Sanchez is on paid administrative leave, per department policy, Austin Interim Chief of Police Robin Henderson said Thursday in a statement.

“Officer Sanchez was confronted with a subject who fired a rifle indiscriminately in a densely populated neighborhood,” Henderson said. “Officer Sanchez responded to that threat consistent with his training. APD will continue to support Officer Sanchez as this process moves forward.”

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