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Fast Food Confusion: Officer fired after shooting teen, was struck by runaway’s car

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Priscilla Aguirre

San Antonio Express-News

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales held a press conference on Friday, October 7, to discuss the rejection of criminal charges against a teen who was shot and injured by a now-former SAPD officer.

Erik Cantu, 17, was shot on Sunday, October 2, while in his vehicle outside of a McDonald’s restaurant in the 11700 block of Blanco Road near West Avenue. The officer who shot Cantu, James Brennand, was fired for violating departmental tactics and procedures, according to SAPD.

Brennand was called for a disturbance at 10:45 p.m. and tried to gather information from witnesses when he noticed Cantu’s vehicle. He recognized it as a vehicle that evaded him the day before when he attempted a traffic stop, according to police reports.

When Brennand approached the vehicle, Cantu, in the officer’s body camera video, looked toward Brennand while holding a hamburger, then backs the car away, striking the officer with the open door, according to SAPD. Brennand then opened fire several times as the door closed and Cantu drove away.

Cantu, who was struck by gunfire, stopped nearby where he and a passenger, who was not injured, were found by police. He was taken to the hospital, where he’s now in stable condition recovering from multiple gunshot wounds, Gonzales said at the press briefing on Friday. When the case was filed, the teenager was originally charged with evading a vehicle and aggravated assault. However, Gonzales has dismissed the charges.

“Exercising my discretion, what I decided to do was to, for now, dismiss this case so that his family can be by his side,” Gonzales said. “So that they can visit with him and we’ll see what happens. Hopefully, he will get better.”

Gonzales commended the local police department for taking the action it did against Brennand. He said, “Clearly there was concern on their part.”

The case against the officer is pending, Gonzales added. The DA said it would “fully review the evidence submitted by the San Antonio Police Department,” in the shooting once the investigation was complete.”

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