San Antonio rookie cop fired after shooting boy, 17, eating burger outside McDonald's in bodycam footage

San Antonio rookie cop fired after shooting boy, 17, eating burger outside McDonald's in bodycam footage
Eric Cantu (L) was shot multiple times by a rookie San Antonio officer at a McDonald’s parking lot (San Antonio Police Department/YouTube screenshot)

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS: A rookie police officer was fired after shooting and seriously injuring a 17-year-old boy in San Antonio after the latter tried to flee in his car when startled by the cop in a McDonald's parking lot. Erik Cantu was confronted by officer James Brennand on the night of October 2 at about 10.30 pm as Cantu was enjoying a cheeseburger inside his car as shown in the bodycam footage published by the police department. The victim was accompanied by an unidentified female passenger who was not hurt in the incident, said reports.

At the close-by University Hospital, Cantu was admitted for treatment of his wounds. He was reportedly in critical but stable condition. After the incident, Brennand performed CPR as he awaited the arrival of emergency personnel. Brennand was fired on October 5 by the San Antonio Police Department. Having just been employed for seven months at the time of his termination, he was still in his probationary period and was not eligible to file an appeal. Charges of resisting arrest and assaulting a police officer were first brought against the Cantu by the authorities but those have subsequently been withdrawn. In accordance with Texas law, the teen's family was only allowed to visit him in bed for limited periods of time because he was still facing charges. Before the footage was made public, Brennand argued he shot Cantu after being struck by the teenager's car but the video shows otherwise, reported Daily Mail.

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After hearing about an unrelated disturbance, Brennand was summoned to McDonald's. The policeman evidently believed that the teenager's automobile was the one that had eluded him the night before when he arrived at the spot. Brennand tried to stop that car, but it sped away from him because the license plates didn't match the vehicle. Brennand walked up to Cantu's vehicle and called for cover, but he took matters into his own hands by opening the door. Police did not confirm whether Cantu's automobile was stolen.

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The incident in which Cantu was abruptly ordered to exit the vehicle by Brennand was captured on a bodycam. Cantu tried to put the car in reverse as he questioned the officer's demands. Brennand opened fire and opened fire the driver's side of the car. The bodycam video shows the officer exclaiming "shots fired!" on his radio. Cantu attempted to leave the parking space by pulling out but Brennand kept firing into the back of the car. The teenagers were later discovered outside the car a block from the shooting.

Joe Gonzales, the district attorney for Bexar County, Texas, acknowledged at a press conference on October 7 that after viewing the footage, his office gave the police department the order to drop the charges against Cantu. Gonzales also gave the public an update on Cantu's health: “This young man is in critical but stable condition in the hospital. There was some issue with his parents being able to have extended contact with him. I understand it’s a touch-and-go situation. Exercising my discretion, what I decided to do for now is dismiss this case so that his family can be by his side.”

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Officer Brennand may face charges, according to Gonzales, who said: “That case is pending. We will have to wait until SAPD files the entire case in our office. We will then review it. My concern right now is with the health of this young man, with his parents’ ability to be by his side, and so that’s why we have done what we have done. It’ll take some time for SAPD to file the complete case with us and then we’ll make the decision.”

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