Erik Cantu, a 17-year-old San Antonio resident, was sitting in his vehicle eating a hamburger in a McDonald’s parking lot with his friend when things suddenly took a turn for the worse. His driver-side door flung open and a San Antonio police officer was demanding he exit the vehicle.
Cantu, who was visibly shaken when the officer opened his door, put his vehicle in reverse with the door still open – hitting the police officer with it. The officer fired five shots at the vehicle before it started to drive away, and then five more shots when Cantu drove off.
The altercation took about one minute – from the moment the officer opened the door to the moment Cantu drove away. He got one block down the road before exiting the vehicle. Cantu suffered multiple gunshot wounds and is in critical condition, but the female inside the vehicle was unharmed.
The shooting occurred on October 2nd, but new information is being released daily as we learn more about what happened on that grisly night.
It’s been learned that the officer – James Brennand – was called to the scene for an unrelated matter when he spotted Cantu’s vehicle. Brennand thought it was the same vehicle that evaded him the day before – suspecting the vehicle was stolen because the plates didn’t match.
Although the officer called for backup, Brennand failed to wait for backup to arrive and proceeded to pursue Cantu’s vehicle anyway. You can see the entire altercation below:
The San Antonio Police Chief, William McManus, took a hard stance on the incident. “There is nothing I can say in defense of that officer’s actions that night. I think what happened, initially, there was some contact made, but that did not justify the shooting,” explained McManus.
Cantu’s family recently released a statement with an update on his health:
“We thank you for the heartfelt thoughts on the status of Erik’s recovery. We will inform you that he’s still in critical condition and literally fighting for his life every minute of the day as his body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma. He is still on life support. We need all the blessing we can receive at this time. We kindly ask for privacy beyond this update as this is a delicate moment in our lives and we are focusing on one thing and that’s getting him home.”
Charges Likely Incoming for Both Erik Cantu and James Brennand
As we await more developments on this front, many people are calling for James Brennand to be charged and convicted for his actions. According to The New York Times, Brennand has now been charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
With that said, the San Antonio Police Department has also fired the police officer – who had only been with the department for seven months – for “violating police tactics, training, and procedures.” Cantu remains on life support.
Brennand isn’t the only person facing potential charges. Cantu was originally accused of evading arrest and assault on an officer. For the moment, district attorney Joe Gonzales has dismissed the charges against Cantu, but they could revisit the charges at a later date.
“That’s not to say that charges can’t or won’t be brought against that individual, but for now, that is the decision we are making,” Gonzales said. “We have other decisions we have to make down the road, which may include charging him with a crime.”
There’s still a lot to uncover from this story and we’ll likely be learning much more in the coming days and weeks. Our prayers and best wishes go out to Erik Cantu, his female friend that was with him, and the families of those affected.
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