SAN ANTONIO – Erik Cantu Jr. is awake and smiling nearly six weeks after being shot by a San Antonio Police Officer in a McDonald’s parking lot, a photo posted by the family shows.
The teen’s father, Erik Cantu Sr., shared an update on the GoFundMe site Friday showing Cantu Jr. with a smile on his face.
“After 6 long weeks and by the grace of God along with all the prayers sent by the masses we are emerging victoriously from this unfortunate event!!! You’re the first to see this smile and I’m one proud father to see this young man fight so hard to be here,” Cantu Sr. said in a post accompanying the photo.
It’s the first update on Cantu Jr.’s recovery since the family revealed he was no longer on life support earlier this month.
Cantu Jr., 17, sustained injuries to his stomach, diaphragm, lungs, liver, bicep and forearm after he was shot by San Antonio Police Department officer James Brennand on Oct. 2.
His parents have shared updates on his condition since the shooting and said on Oct. 25 that Cantu Jr.’s health was very touch-and-go.
“He is cut from the center of his chest down to his stomach, has staples, tubes in his mouth, tubes in his sides,” Cantu Sr. said previously.
It was also revealed that Cantu Jr. had a tracheotomy, which is slightly visible in the photo that was shared on the crowdfunding site Friday.
Cantu Jr.’s mother Victoria Casarez previously stated that her son still has a bullet lodged near his heart and said it would do more harm than good to remove it. It’s unclear if that’s still the case.
“We still have one more potential surgery and weeks and months and years of rehab but he’s proving he can do it,” Cantu Sr. said.
The teen’s parents released the following statement Tuesday evening via attorney Ben Crump:
“After six long weeks, powered by the grace of God and the prayers sent by the masses, this week has brought small victories, for which we are so grateful. Seeing Erik’s smile has given us a renewed sense of hope, which we believe will carry our family through this hardship to see Erik through his recovery. We are incredibly proud of this young man who has fought so hard to be here. Erik still has at least one more potential surgery and likely years of rehab, but he’s proving he has the strength to do it. Thank you all for being there for us through this journey with Erik.”
In the aftermath of the shooting, SAPD released graphic body camera footage of the incident.
Officials with the city of San Antonio have also since attempted to withhold the release of public information related to the case.
KSAT requested additional video from Brennand’s camera and other officers, in addition to the police report, under the Texas Public Information Act, on Oct. 25 and 27.
In response, James Kopp, assistant city attorney for San Antonio, sent a letter to the Texas attorney general asking if the city can keep the public records private under an exception in the state law. The Texas Attorney General has the authority to decide whether information can be kept private based on its interpretation of the law.
Brennand is currently charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant, a first-degree felony. He was released from Bexar County Jail on a $200,000 bond and a hearing has been set for Nov. 23.