Ex-SAPD officer Brennand no longer facing attempted murder charge after reindictment

DA Joe Gonzales repeatedly offered ‘no comment’ when asked about the case Thursday

James Brennand appears in 437th District Court on Thursday. (Sal Salazar, KSAT)

SAN ANTONIO – A fired San Antonio police officer accused of shooting a teenager in a moving vehicle outside a North Side McDonald’s in 2022 no longer faces an attempted murder charge in connection with the case, court records obtained this week by KSAT Investigates show.

The attempted murder charge against James Brennand was not included when the case was reindicted on Feb. 27. That could mean that evidence of attempted murder was not presented to the grand jury or the grand jury voted not to indict for attempted murder. Grand jury proceedings are secret and the DA’s office has refused to comment.

The Bexar County District Attorney’s Office did not respond to repeated messages from KSAT about the decision to move on from the felony charge against Brennand, who was on duty in October 2022 when he repeatedly shot Cantu as the teen tried to back up his car and drive away.

A passenger in Cantu’s vehicle, Emily Proulx, was not hit by gunfire.

Brennand was originally indicted by a grand jury in December 2022. He was charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and one count of attempted murder. Gonzales told reporters at the time that his office would “do everything possible to see that justice is done for Erik and the rest of his family.”

The two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant were moved over from the original indictment. Instead of attempted murder, Brennand now faces a third count of deadly conduct-firearm as part of the reindictment, court records show.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales, who made an appearance for the San Antonio City Council meeting on Thursday morning, repeatedly declined to comment when asked by KSAT reporter Garrett Brnger about the reindictment.

“I’m not going to comment on anything right now, we’re in the middle of something. I’m not going to comment,” said Gonzales, as he stood in an aisle before the meeting began.

Gonzales then said he was not interested in making any comments as Brnger attempted to ask him about a judge ordering his office to turn over its communications with the Wren Collective to Brennand’s defense team.

Those communications, which included text messages between Wren founder Jessica Brand and first assistant district attorney Christian Henricksen about the Brennand case, were expected to play a prominent role in a hearing Thursday to determine whether Brennand’s case will be moved to a different venue.

In a motion filed last year, attorneys for Brennand argued that they would not be able to seat 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 Gonzales about the shooting would sway any potential jurors.

The motion was filed months before KSAT revealed Gonzales’ extensive communications with the Wren Collective, an Austin-based criminal justice reform group.

Gonzales has repeatedly said the Wren Collective only provided messaging and talking points to him. He and his staff have not responded to repeated requests from KSAT as more records of his communications with Brand have been released in recent weeks.

Those records include policies provided by Brand to Gonzales while she was part of another third-party group called The Justice Collaborative.

Read more reporting on the KSAT Investigates page.

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.

Erica Hernandez is an Emmy award-winning journalist with 15 years of experience in the broadcast news business. Erica has covered a wide array of stories all over Central and South Texas. She's currently the court reporter and cohost of the podcast Texas Crime Stories.

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