Former San Antonio officer who shot teen in McDonald's parking lot arrested
James Brennand — a former San Antonio Police Department officer who shot and critically wounded a teenager who was eating in his car in a McDonald's parking lot — has been arrested and charged with assault. Brennand was fired from the force on Oct. 4, two days after the shooting.
Brennand turned himself in Tuesday night, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said during a press conference. He now faces two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.
McManus said the two charges were for each of the two people in the car at the time of the shooting.
Brennand shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu on Oct. 2. Body camera video showed Brennand walking toward a parked car in a McDonald's parking lot. He then opened the driver side door and ordered Cantu to get out of the car. Cantu, holding a hamburger, appeared shocked and reversed the car.
As the car backed away, the open door struck Brennand. About five seconds after he had opened the door, Brennand fired five rounds into the car. He fired an additional five shots as the car drove away.
Brennand, who had been on the force for less than one year, violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car, police training commander Alyssa Campos said in a statement announcing he had been fired.
"The officer abruptly opened the driver's door and ordered the driver out of the car" before the arrival of backup officers that Brennand had requested, Campos said.
"Nothing that that officer did that night were in accordance with our training or our policies," McManus said Monday.
McManus on Tuesday said that Brennand was certified to patrol alone, but that the shooting was "unjustified, both administratively and criminally."
He said that the department and training academy staff are "confident that our policies and our training, when it came to this type of incident, are sound."
"This was a failure for one individual police officer," McManus said. "It had nothing to do with our policies. Policies do not allow that. Our training does not teach that."
Cantu's family said Tuesday that the teenager remains on life support.
"The last two days have been difficult and we expect more difficulty ahead, but we remain hopeful," the family said in a statement. "We'd like to correct any misrepresentations that Erik is in 'stable condition' or he is 'going to be fine.' That is not true. Every breath is a struggle for Erik. We ask for everyone's continued prayers for our son."
McManus noted in his Tuesday press conference that if Cantu "does not make it, then the charges will change."
Brennand was called to the McDonald's for an unrelated disturbance. He told investigators that the car looked like one that had evaded him the day before.
A Texas prosecutor said in a statement Friday that he has not seen enough evidence to file charges against the teenager.
"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 led us to reject the charges against Erik Cantu for further investigation," Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said.
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