Erik Cantu’s family asks for prayer, community support ahead of teen’s invasive surgery

Vigil held at the site of the shooting

Erik Cantu’s mother shared an update about her son and family through a letter read at a vigil on Tuesday night.

SAN ANTONIO – Erik Cantu’s mother shared an update about her son and family through a letter read at a vigil on Tuesday night.

Former SAPD officer James Brennand shot the 17-year-old on Oct. 2 in a McDonald’s parking lot in the 11700 block of Blanco Road near West Avenue.

The shooting came after Brennand had encountered Cantu the night before, according to SAPD records viewed by KSAT Investigates.

Loved ones and community members held the vigil for the teen, who remains hospitalized, at the scene of the shooting. They’re working to amplify their call for justice and uniting in prayer since he will be having invasive surgery on Wednesday, according to his family.

The message from Cantu’s mother, Victoria Casarez, thanked those attending the vigil for their well wishes and prayers.

Casarez expressed her son’s situation as a nightmare her family suffers.

“I wish we didn’t have to be living this nightmare. We shouldn’t have to be, because this tragedy was completely preventable,” she wrote in her letter. “James Brennand didn’t have to gun down my child. He didn’t have to mutilate his young body with bullets. But he did. And now, Erik is left fighting for his life and our family is heartbroken.”

Casarez said her son is strong and relentless as he fights for his life.

“Erik is the light of our lives. All we want is for him to recover and live a beautiful and meaningful life instead of clinging to life,” she wrote.

The mother said she hopes the community can work together to spotlight her son’s case and ensure something like this doesn’t happen again.

Casarez concluded her letter asking for more prayers and continued support for her son.

“You’ve already prayed and done so much, but I’m asking for a little more. Because every prayer counts as Erik fights for his life,” she wrote. “Thank you for your continued support.”

Read her letter in full below:

“Thank you all for being here tonight to support Erik and our family. The kindness, prayers, and outreach from the community mean more than you can know. And I truly believe Erik feels it, too.

“I wish we didn’t have to be living this nightmare. We shouldn’t have to be, because this tragedy was completely preventable. James Brennand didn’t have to gun down my child. He didn’t have to mutilate his young body with bullets. But he did. And now, Erik is left fighting for his life and our family is heartbroken.

“Erik is the light of our lives. All we want is for him to recover and live a beautiful and meaningful life instead of clinging to life. But even now, he is still Erik. Strong, and relentless.

“Nothing can take back the violence that was inflicted on my son. But I hope that with the support of our community, we can work together to keep Erik’s horrific case in the spotlight to not only get him justice, but to also ensure this never happens to anyone else. I wouldn’t wish this pain on anyone.

“While we navigate this very difficult time, please keep Erik and our family in your prayers. You’ve already prayed and done so much, but I’m asking for a little more. Because every prayer counts as Erik fights for his life. Thank you for your continued support.”

Find more KSAT coverage related to Erik Cantu’s case here


About the Authors:

John Paul Barajas is a reporter at KSAT 12. Previously, he worked at KRGV 5 in the Rio Grande Valley. He has a degree from the University of Houston. In his free time, he likes to get a workout in, spend time on the water and check out good eats and drinks.

Joe Arredondo is a photojournalist at KSAT 12.