SAPD investigating Erik Cantu Jr. in pair of evading arrest cases

Teen survived being shot by then-SAPD Officer James Brennand in McDonald’s parking lot last October; Cantu on bond in unrelated theft case

Erik Cantu Jr. was named as a suspect in two evading arrest with a vehicle cases last month. (Joshua Saunders, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A San Antonio teenager shot multiple times by an SAPD officer last year has been named as a suspect in two felony evading arrest cases that occurred less than a week apart, records obtained by KSAT Investigates show.

Erik Cantu Jr., 18, is accused of fleeing from San Antonio police in a white BMW on Sept. 2 on Northwest Loop 410 and again on Sept. 8 in the same vehicle downtown, records show.

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In the first incident, an SAPD officer around 11 p.m. spotted the vehicle traveling 100 miles per hour in a 65-miles-per-hour zone. After confirming the license plate, the officer attempted to pull over the vehicle, an SAPD incident report states.

The vehicle failed to stop and instead performed “evasive maneuvers” and began traveling even faster, the report states. The officer ended the pursuit and exited the highway, according to the report.

The case was then forwarded to an SAPD investigation division.

Six days later, an SAPD bike patrol officer attempted to stop a BMW playing loud music at E. Market St. and Navarro St. around 8 p.m.

The officer pulled in front of the vehicle at a red light, placed his hand out in a stopping motion and verbally told the driver to stop the vehicle, an SAPD incident report states.

The driver turned the wheel to the right and began accelerating, forcing the bike officer to again tell the driver to stop.

“The vehicle got around me, peeled out and accelerated through the bus lane passing vehicles at a accelerated speed. The vehicle continued eastbound on market headed out of the downtown area,” the report states.

The officer, who visibly identified the driver as Cantu at the scene, was later able to confirm the car’s license plate using his body-worn camera footage, according to the report.

Stickers on the windows of the BMW give an Instagram handle for an account that appears to show Cantu holding a large amount of cash.

SAPD investigators plan to file the Sept. 8 evading case against Cantu with the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office, since the officer was able to positively identify him as the driver, a department spokesman confirmed.

The Sept. 2 evading investigation remains pending, but Cantu has not been positively identified as the driver, that report states.

SAPD investigators also looked into an incident in August in which a woman claiming to be six months pregnant with Cantu’s child accused him of hitting her in the head with a hard object during a dispute at her home, an SAPD incident report states.

The woman, who KSAT is not identifying, told police Cantu hit her and choked her in a separate incident in March, and showed officers photos of her with a black eye and marks on her neck consistent with being choked, the report states.

Investigators closed the assault of a pregnant person case earlier this year after the woman stopped cooperating with the investigation, SAPD officials said.

An SAPD spokesman said he could not confirm Cantu’s name, since he has not been formally booked on any of the charges.

Cantu’s name, however, is listed in a synopsis of recent criminal allegations obtained by KSAT. The synopsis, which contains SAPD case numbers, lists Cantu as the suspect in all three cases.

Cantu on bond in theft case

Cantu and Emily Proulx were charged this summer with theft after San Antonio police investigators said the couple took items from the automotive section of a Wal-Mart in the 8500 block of Jones Maltsberger.

The items included a car charger and air freshener and were concealed in a purse, charging records obtained by KSAT show.

Cantu’s next court appearance in the misdemeanor theft case is scheduled for late next month, court records show.

His criminal defense attorney did not respond to a phone call seeking comment for this story.

Brennand attorneys want a change of venue

Cantu was hospitalized for nearly two months after being shot multiple times in the parking lot of a McDonald’s on Blanco Rd. by then-SAPD officer James Brennand last October.

The teen suffered injuries to his stomach, diaphragm, lungs, liver, bicep and forearm, his family previously said.

Brennand, who was at the restaurant for an unrelated disturbance call, approached Cantu’s vehicle after recognizing it from an evading arrest incident the night before.

Records reviewed by KSAT Investigates last year show in that previous incident Cantu evaded Brennand at U.S. Highway 281 and Bitters Rd.

Brennand, after recognizing the maroon BMW from the previous night, opened the driver’s side door without announcing himself as an officer, footage shows.

The female passenger, Proulx, in an interview with SAPD investigators, said Cantu disregarded Brennand’s command to get out of the car and that the vehicle’s door “hit the officer” and the officer “kinda gets dragged behind” as Cantu backed up, SAPD records show.

Proulx confirmed she was also a passenger in the car during the evading incident the night before.

Brennand, who was a probationary officer with seven months of experience, was fired by SAPD days later as the shooting case began to garner national attention.

Brennand was arrested and then later indicted late last year on two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and one count of attempted murder.

His attorneys late last week filed a motion in court seeking a change of venue for the trial.

Attorneys argued that Brennand would not be able to get an impartial jury due to the extensive media coverage the incident received. They also argued that remarks made by both San Antonio Police Chief William McManus and Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales about the incident would sway any potential jurors.

Brennand’s trial has been tentatively scheduled for Dec. 8, court records show.

About the Authors

Emmy-award winning reporter Dillon Collier joined KSAT Investigates in September 2016. Dillon's investigative stories air weeknights on the Nightbeat and on the Six O'Clock News. Dillon is a two-time Houston Press Club Journalist of the Year and a Texas Associated Press Broadcasters Reporter of the Year.

Sean Talbot is the Assistant News Director at KSAT. He formerly served as the Assignments Manager. He joined KSAT in 2001. He graduated from Texas State with a degree in Mass Communication with a minor in Political Science. When he’s not getting our news crews out the door, he’s at home with his wife Lomisa and their two daughters Grace and Sydney.

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