San Antonio Police Officer Fired And Charged After Shooting Teen In McDonald’s Parking Lot
On Oct. 2, 2022, Erik Cantu, 17, was eating in his car when former police officer James Brennand ordered him to get out. When Cantu tried to drive away, Brennand shot him multiple times.
On Oct. 2, 2022, 17-year-old Erik Cantu was shot multiple times by a police officer while in a car in a McDonald’s parking lot in San Antonio, Texas. Cantu is in critical condition and on life support, reported NBC News.
He and a 17-year-old female were sitting in the vehicle eating hamburgers when James Brennand, who has since been fired, approached them.
Brennand was in the area because he was responding to an unrelated disturbance call. He reportedly spotted Cantu's vehicle, which he suspected to be a stolen vehicle which had "evaded from him the night prior," according to an incident report obtained by PEOPLE.
Body camera video shows that Brennand walked up to the driver’s side of the teenager’s parked vehicle. He opened the door and ordered the driver to get out. The teen, who was sitting in the driver’s seat eating, appeared startled and scared, and he backed up the car.
Without threat or provocation, the police officer then opened fire. He shot the car five times. Cantu shifted the vehicle forward, then drove away as the officer fired five additional shots. The New York Times reported that the vehicle with the teenagers was found a block away.
Brennand was fired and now faces two felony counts of aggravated assault by a public servant. On Oct. 11, he turned himself in to the San Antonio Police, according to CNN.
Police Chief William McManus announced that an aggravated assault charge was filed for each person who was in the vehicle – Cantu and his companion who was not harmed. He explained, “There was a criminal component to this, that’s why we investigated it as a criminal offense.”
CNN posted video footage that showed the teen being shot by the officers. McManus told CNN, “The video was horrific. There is no question in anybody’s mind looking at that video that the shooting is not justified.”
"The former officer’s actions are indefensible and do not align with our training, tactics, and procedures," McManus also stated. “This was a failure for one individual police officer that had nothing to do with our policies. Policies did not allow that; our training did not teach that. So, this was a fail for one particular police officer.”
Brennand had only been on the police force for seven months and was still on probation, which is common for recent graduates of the police academy.
Brian Powers, a lawyer for Cantu, shared a message from the teenager’s family. He said that Cantu was “still in critical condition and literally fighting for his life every minute of the day. His body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma.”