One of my nightmares as a gun owner is finding myself in an armed confrontation with someone who turns out to be the police. Someone busting in my door in the middle of the night will likely send me reacting, reaching for my gun.
But I’ve never worried too much about other confrontations with the police. I was raised with the idea that if you comply, all will ultimately be well.
Dad was a cop, so I wasn’t surprised that he’d teach me that.
A case out of Texas shows that there’s a change that’s not always the case.
A Texas grand jury charged a police officer with a felony over his 2022 fatal shooting of a tech entrepreneur, officials said Wednesday, in a case that has divided Austin’s law enforcement community.
Austin Police Officer Daniel Sanchez has been charged with one count of deadly conduct, a third-degree felony, in connection with the Nov. 15, 2022, shooting death of Rajan “Raj” Moonesinghe, Travis County District Attorney José Garza announced.
“The District Attorney’s office takes the work of presenting all facts and evidence to a grand jury very seriously,” Garza said in a statement. “In this case, an independent group of members of the Travis County community heard the evidence and law and decided that Officer Sanchez’s conduct was unlawful.”
On the night of the shooting, Austin police were responding to a 911 call saying a man in a gray robe was pointing a rifle down the street and firing it into his own home.
As officers arrived, Moonesinghe, 33, was shot almost simultaneously with police orders for him to drop the gun, his family has claimed.
Loved ones said he had just returned from a trip and feared his home had been burglarized.
Whether or not Moonesighe was, in fact, pointing a gun down the street and firing into his own home is irrelevant right here and now.
We do know that he had an AR-15 in his hands when the police arrived.
These aren’t facts that are in dispute.
What raises the question was whether or not he was shot and killed as orders to drop the gun were given and, if he was, where there any actions that justified the use of lethal force.
For example, did he raise the gun to point it at the officers? If not, then there’s absolutely no excuse for what happened.
I don’t know what the grand jury saw with regard to evidence, but it seems unlikely that Moonesighe took any obviously provocative action. If they had, it’s unlikely that the grand jury would have indicted in a case like this.
Obviously, we’ll have to wait to see all the evidence and see what the jury decides, but the truth of the matter is that every gun owner should be concerned about what happened.
This is a man, a gun owner, who was reportedly shot and killed by police while supposedly being told to put his gun down. Not after being told and failing to comply, mind you, but while he was being told. If that is what actually happened, we should all be concerned because the next gun owner it happens to could be one of us.