Texas District Attorney names San Antonio officer who shot 17-year-old in a McDonald’s parking lot



CNN

The Texas police officer who shot a 17-year-old man while he was eating a meal in a McDonald’s parking lot last week has been named as the teenager remains in critical condition, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement.

San Antonio Officer James Brennand, described by the police department as a probationary officer with seven months of experience, was fired for violating agency tactics, training and procedures, police said.

Brennand shot Erik Cantu, who was still reported to be in critical condition Saturday and “literally fighting for his life,” his defense attorney, Brian Powers, told CNN on behalf of the teenager’s family. Cantu was originally charged with evading arrest in a vehicle and assaulting the officer, who had claimed he was hit by the door of the car when the teenager backed up.

“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,” Gonzales’ office said in a statement.

“Once SAPD has completed its investigation into the actions of former Officer James Brennand and submits the case to our office, our Civil Rights Division will fully review the application. As we do with all officer-involved shootings that result in death or serious injury, we will submit case before a grand jury for consideration. Until that happens, we cannot comment further on this case.”

Powers told CNN that the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office notified him Friday that prosecutors would not move forward with charges against his client. A spokesman for the DA’s office referred CNN to the county’s online court records system, which indicates both charges have been dismissed and the case closed.

CNN has reached out to Brennand and the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association for comment. Attempts to reach Brennand were unsuccessful Sunday.

Powers told CNN on Saturday that Cantu is “literally fighting for his life every minute of the day as his body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma.”

“We need all the blessings we can receive at this time. We kindly ask for privacy beyond this update as this is a sensitive time in our lives and we are focused on one thing and that is getting him home ,” he added.

Gonzales held a press conference Friday to address public concerns about the investigative process.

“Let me be clear that I believe the vast majority of members of the San Antonio Police Department do an excellent job of protecting our community and doing the right thing,” Gonzales said during the conference.

“We have other decisions to make down the road, which may include charging him with a crime,” he said.

The San Antonio Police Department said in a video statement that the officer was handling an unrelated disturbance call at McDonald’s Sunday night when he saw a car he believed had eluded police the previous day and called for backup.

Before backup officers arrived, body camera video released by police shows the officer walking up to the driver’s side of the car, opening the door and ordering the driver out. The visibly startled teenager, who was sitting in the driver’s seat eating, put the car in reverse and began backing up.

Brennand then opened fire five times at the car, according to the video. As the driver moved the vehicle to move forward, body camera video showed the officer open fire five more times as the car sped away.

SAPD said the teenager was found a block away with multiple gunshot wounds. A passenger in the car was not injured, police said.

SAPD said it is investigating the incident and will forward the findings to the Bexar County District Attorney, who said in a statement that his office’s Civil Rights Division would review the police shooting and the charges against the teenager.

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