'He's mutilated': Erik Cantu's family says 'every day is a struggle' as teen suffers from hallucinations
Warning: This content contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion is advised.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: Erik Cantu, a 17-year-old boy was shot by an ex-rookie police officer, James Brennand, on October 2 while sitting and eating inside his car with his girlfriend in a McDonald's parking lot. The teen was shot at least ten times by the officer and was also slapped with handcuffs while being seriously injured. His family has now opened up to the public in a press briefing regarding the status of Erik's health, as reported by Daily Mail.
His father, Erik Cantu Sr, said during a press briefing surrounded by their extended family and attorneys, "These are the things that we have to see daily that no one should have to see and no one should have to feel." The 17-year-old is expected to remain in the ICU for at least the next three weeks and is still in critical condition. His mother, Victoria Casarez, further stated, "He's mutilated; it hurts us to see our son that way." According to DailyMail, the family of Cantu claims their son is heavily sedated and suffers from pneumonia as a result of his prolonged intubation from being in the ICU. They further revealed that Erik experiences frequent hallucinations that prompt him to put his hands in the air and mimic hitting a car's gas pedal.
Meanwhile, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales informed Cantu's family that the former police officer assumed Cantu was a suspect because he was "a Hispanic kid with a bowl-shaped haircut." Furthermore, Ben Crump, the civil rights lawyer who had represented the families of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, explained that the parents of Cantu are seeking murder charges against Brennand. He said, "That's it. That's why we're here. That's why (Brennand) shot 10 times." The family also revealed that the full footage of the incident has not yet been revealed to the public.
His father, Cantu Sr stated that their son was calling his mother and said, "I've been shot." Brennand responded, "Yes, you have, because I shot you." Further, his mother stated, "No one is safe with him out on the streets." The family is now requesting his $200,000 bail to be revoked due to the officer's false accusation that Cantu had struck Brennand with his vehicle. Meanwhile, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said, "There is no question in anybody's mind looking at that video that the shooting is not justified' and that the body cam footage is 'horrific' to watch."
"But what quality of life will he have once he gets through it?" attorney Crump wondered. He also added, "What crime was being committed by two 17-year-old kids parked in a McDonald's parking lot eating a cheeseburger?"
However, the 17-year-old girl in the front passenger seat revealed that she felt guilty because she decided to eat at McDonald's that night, according to Daily Mail. The duo has reportedly been dating for a while, and she also claimed that Cantu wanted to dine inside. However, she persuaded him to go out and eat in the drive-through. She also reported that Brennand aggressively asked Cantu to get out of the car. However, Cantu then tried to reverse the car, which was when Brennand started firing at him.
Cantu then drove the car ahead, and Brennand continued to fire. However, Cantu then stopped the car a block away. The girl then helped him unfasten the seatbelt; Cantu held his shot arm but later realized he had been shot in different organs. The girl saw Cantu bleeding from his stomach and called for help. Brennand slapped handcuffs on Cantu after he opened fire and while the teen was gasping for air. A hearing for the case is scheduled for Wednesday, November 23.