APD officer who killed man in south Austin preparing for trial: attorney

The attorney representing an Austin police officer who shot and killed a man in south Austin in 2022 said they’re preparing for trial. 

Officer Daniel Sanchez had a hearing on Thursday, June 20 for the deadly conduct charge involving the killing of Rajan Moonesinghe.

It was a quick hearing Thursday. Officer Sanchez’s attorney said they are still working to get discovery, or evidence, in this case to prepare for trial hopefully before the end of the year. The attorneys will meet again in August.

"Absolutely we’re going to take this to trial," Sanchez’s attorney Brad Heilman said.

Heilman said that’s the next step in this case.

In November 2022, Officer Sanchez killed 30-year-old Moonesinghe after police got a call about a man pointing a rifle down the street. When officers arrived, they said they saw Moonesinghe shooting into his home. Sanchez then shot him.

"Austin police have a history of shooting first before trying to deescalate the situation. They must do better to protect the sanctity of human life," Moonesinghe’s brother, Mark Moonesinghe, said in June 2023.

Sanchez’s attorney said his force was reasonable.

"Mr. Moonesinghe was firing in a neighborhood, he was dangerous, and when he turned on Officer Sanchez, Officer Sanchez had no other choice but to use deadly force to protect himself and the other people in the neighborhood," Heilman said.

In December 2023, a grand jury indicted Sanchez on a third-degree felony deadly conduct charge.

"I anticipate that they will get indicted, so there’s really no difference in the way I move forward with the case," Heilman said.


As the Moonesinghe family said they’re waiting for justice, Sanchez is still working for the Austin Police Department on administrative duty. His attorney said he hopes to be back on the streets as soon as possible.

"We plan on putting it on the jury trial docket before the end of the year," Heilman said.

The next hearing is on August 6.