The Austin Police Department (APD) continues to investigate the officer-involved shooting that occurred on Tuesday, November 15, 2022.
APD continues to work diligently to build trust within our community. As per our policy, we share information about a critical incident within 10 business days of its occurrence. Transparency and accountability are key to our ability to serve the Austin community, so we will provide an account of this critical incident to help you understand the chain of events. APD is working with the Office of Police Oversight and the City of Austin to release this information today. The press release includes links to the relevant audio and video from the ongoing investigation. The Travis-County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the audio and video materials identified for public release. The details provided today are preliminary, as we are very early in the investigation.
The Officer who discharged his Department approved firearm is Officer Daniel Sanchez.
At approximately 12:28 a.m., Austin 9-1-1 Communications received a call regarding a man with a gun across the street from 2301 South 3rd Street in the area of 2nd Street and Fletcher Street. The caller stated a white male, wearing a grey robe and dark pants was pointing a rifle down the street. At 12:30 a.m., APD officers were dispatched to the call.
The caller remained on the phone line with Austin 9-1-1 Communications while officers responded to the scene. The caller said the man was pointing his rifle at the interior of his home. The caller then stated the man just fired into his own home. The caller said the police were on scene and the man fired again. The man who fired the rifle was later identified as Rajan David Moonesinghe. The address where Mr. Moonesinghe was located was later identified as 2216 South 3rd Street.
Officer Daniel Sanchez and Officer Stephen Markert, driving separate marked police vehicles arrived at approximately 12:33 a.m., three minutes after the initial call was dispatched. As Officer Markert pulled up to the residence, he heard gunshots and realized that he was directly in front of where Mr. Moonesinghe was located. Both Officer Sanchez and Officer Markert then drove past the residence. Officers Sanchez and Markert exited their vehicles.
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.
Officer Markert who had just exited his vehicle made contact with Officer Sanchez. Officer Markert gave verbal commands to Mr. Moonesinghe to show his hands. The officers did not receive a response from Mr. Moonesinghe. Both officers observed the rifle on the ground near Mr. Moonesinghe. Officer Brito then arrived on scene and all three officers approached Mr. Moonesinghe who was still located on the porch of the residence with the rifle nearby. The officers immediately began life-saving measures.
The front door was open and officers could see into the residence. Officer Brito gave verbal commands from the open front door to check for anyone who may have been injured or inside of the residence. Officers checked the residence and did not locate anyone inside the residence.
At approximately 12:37 a.m., Austin-Travis County EMS (ATCEMS) arrived on scene and continued life-saving measures. ATCEMS transported Mr. Moonesinghe to a local hospital where Mr. Moonesinghe succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased. Civilians and officers on scene did not sustain physical injuries.
The rifle observed on the ground near Mr. Moonesinghe and several spent shell casings were recovered and seized as evidence. This incident was captured on both body-worn camera, dash camera, and other video sources. Body-worn and dash camera videos do not always capture everything the officer or witnesses saw or experienced during the incident; however, the footage helps us understand what occurred.
In compliance with state law that prohibits the release of certain information and to maintain the integrity of the investigation, the materials have been redacted. The materials include comprehensive footage of the officers’ actions and contain graphic content and language. Viewer discretion is advised.
MATERIALS BEING RELEASED:
• 9-1-1 audio
• Police radio traffic
• Ring camera video
• Body-worn camera - Officer Daniel Sanchez
• Body-worn camera - Officer Stephen Markert
• Body-worn camera - Officer Luis Brito
All of the released materials are available on the Department’s YouTube and other social media platforms. The link to the materials is below.
Per APD protocol Officer Daniel Sanchez who discharged his Department approved firearm has been placed on administrative leave. Officer Sanchez has two years and nine months of service with the Department.
APD will conduct two concurrent investigations into this incident: a criminal investigation by the APD Special Investigations Unit in conjunction with the Travis County District Attorney's Office, and an administrative investigation conducted by the APD Internal Affairs Unit, with oversight from the Office of Police Oversight.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 512-472-TIPS, or use the new Crime Stoppers App.