‘Video was horrific’: SAPD Chief says officer’s shooting of teen was not justified

Erik Cantu is on life support following shooting in McDonald’s parking lot

SAN ANTONIOUPDATE: San Antonio Police Chief William McManus will provide an update after two charges of aggravated assault by a public servant were filed against former officer James Brennand. Read the latest update here.

(Original Story)

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus has spoken out against the former police officer who shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu in the parking lot of a San Antonio McDonald’s on Oct. 2.

“The video was horrific,” the chief told CNN’s Brianna Keilar. “There is no question in anybody’s mind looking at that video that the shooting is not justified.”

Body-worn camera footage released by the San Antonio Police Department shows probationary police officer James Brennand fire multiple rounds into a vehicle where Cantu and his 17-year-old female friend were eating after the officer said he recognized the vehicle as the same one that “fled from [him] the other day.”

Brennand, who suspected that the car was stolen and called for cover, approached the vehicle, opened the door and ordered Cantu to “get out of the car” before attempting to physically remove the teenager from the car.

The body-cam video shows Cantu putting the vehicle in reverse as his open car door allegedly hits Brennand. The officer then fires shots into the car with both 17-year-olds still inside. Brennand fires more shots into the back of the vehicle as Cantu puts the car in drive and pulls out of the parking lot.

Even before he saw the body camera footage, McManus said “when I arrived on the scene I looked at the vehicle and I immediately had issues with it based on where the bullet holes were.”

“We have a policy that prohibits officers from shooting at vehicles, moving vehicles, except if their life is in immediate, their life or someone else’s life is in immediate danger,” McManus said.

“You can tell by looking at the vehicles, which way the vehicle’s moving when the shots are fired,” said McManus. “And this vehicle, it was very telling to me that this vehicle was moving away from the officer and moving parallel with the officer. So it was pretty clear to me at that point that we were going to have an issue.”

So far, no charges have been filed against Brennand but McManus expects that to change possibly by the end of the week

Brennand is potentially facing two counts of aggravated assault, McManus said.

If Cantu succumbs to his injuries, which currently require him to be on life support, McManus said the expected charges would change to include homicide or murder.

“I don’t know what the exact charge would be, though, at this point,” he said.

Although he has not yet been formally charged with a crime, McManus said Brennand was fired following the incident.

“It took us a couple of days to terminate Brennand, but he was gone pretty quickly,” the chief said.

VIDEO: Protest held at SAPD HQ demanding arrest of fired cop

San Antonio residents protest at SAPD Headquarters to demand that former Officer James Brennand be immediately arrested and criminally charged for the shooting of 17-year-old Erik Cantu

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About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.