James Brennand — a former San Antonio Police Department officer who shot and critically injured a teenager who was eating in his car in the McDonald’s parking lot – was arrested and charged with assault. Brennand was fired effective October 4, two days after the shooting.
He now faces two counts of aggravated assault by a public official.
Brennand shot and killed 17-year-old Erik Cantu on October 2. Video from body cameras showed Brennand walking toward a parked car in the McDonald’s parking lot. He then opened the driver’s side door and ordered Cantu out of the car. Cantu with the hamburger looked shocked and turned the car around.
As the car backed up, the open door hit Brennand. About five seconds after opening the door, Brennand fired five shots into the car. As the car sped away, he fired five more shots.
Brennand, who had been with the force for less than a year, violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car, police training chief Alyssa Campos said in a statement announcing his dismissal.
“The officer suddenly opened the driver’s door and ordered the driver out of the car” before backup officers, which Brennand requested, arrived, Campos said.
“Nothing that officer did that night was consistent with our training or our policies,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said Monday.
Cantu’s family said Tuesday that the teenager remains on life support.
“The last two days have been difficult and we expect more difficulties, but we remain hopeful,” the family said in a statement. “We would like to correct any false claims that Erik is in ‘stable condition’ or ‘he will be fine’. That is not true. Every breath is a struggle for Erik. We ask everyone for continued prayers for our son.”
Brennand was called to McDonald’s for an unrelated disturbance. He told investigators that the car looked like a car that had avoided him.
A Texas prosecutor said in a statement Friday that he had not seen enough evidence to charge the young man.
“While Sunday’s shooting of an unarmed teenager by a then-San Antonio police officer remains under investigation, the facts and evidence we have received so far have led us to dismiss the charges against Erik Cantu pending further investigation,” said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales. .