SAN ANTONIO – The charges filed against a teenager who was shot by a now former-SAPD officer have been dismissed, according to Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales.
After reviewing video footage from the shooting and hearing concerns about the case, Gonzales said the teen’s charges have been dismissed, pending further investigation.
“We are aware of the terrible and tragic shooting of this teenager,” Gonzales said. “There have been concerns in the community about the status of both that officer and teenager. I will tell you that, when the case was filed, the teenager was originally charged with evading with a vehicle and aggravated assault. We have since -- reviewing the video footage, I’ve instructed my office to dismiss the cases against this young man.”
“That’s not to say that charges can’t or won’t be brought against that individual, but for now, that is the decision that we are making,” he added.
Erick Cantu, 17, was shot multiple times by officer James Brennand while in his vehicle in a McDonald’s parking lot on Blanco Road near West Avenue on Sunday.
Brennand was called for a disturbance at 10:45 p.m. and was speaking with witnesses when he noticed Cantu’s vehicle and recognized it from a separate incident the day before.
The prior incident was not related to the disturbance call at McDonald’s, according to police.
Brennand suspected Cantu’s car was stolen and called for cover. However, before other officers arrived, he walked up to the car and opened the door, where Cantu and another passenger were eating food.
Cantu put the vehicle in reverse with the door still open and started driving, SAPD said. The door hit Brennand, and he opened fire.
Brennand was later fired for violating departmental tactics and procedures not long after the shooting, SAPD said.
Cantu has since been bedridden and is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.
With Cantu hospitalized and in custody, under the jurisdiction of the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, his family had limited contact with him in the hospital, according to Gonzales.
“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,” Gonzales said. “Exercising my discretion, what I decided to do for now is dismiss this case so that his family can be by his side.”
He said by dismissing the charges pending further investigation, Cantu’s family will now be able to be at his side as he recovers.
In the meantime, Gonzales said his office is still waiting on possible charges against Brennand, but it’ll depend on when SAPD files the entire case.
“With regard to the case involving the officer, that case is pending. We will have to wait until SAPD files the entire case in our office. We will then review it,” Gonzales said.
Once the case is in the hands of the DA, its Civil Rights Division will review the filing.
“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,” Gonzales said.
“I commend the San Antonio Police Department for taking the action that they did for terminating this individual because, clearly, there was concern on their part,” he added. “It is commendable that members of that department saw fit to terminate this individual.”
Gonzales said there is a possibility that Brennand could face a criminal charge stemming from the shooting.
You can watch the entire press conference with Gonzalez in the video player above.