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Texas District Attorney names San Antonio officer who shot 17-year-old in a McDonald’s parking lot

<i>San Antonio Police Department</i><br/>A San Antonio Police Department officer has been fired after shooting a 17-year-old boy who was eating a meal in a McDonald's parking lot Sunday
San Antonio Police Department
San Antonio Police Department
A San Antonio Police Department officer has been fired after shooting a 17-year-old boy who was eating a meal in a McDonald's parking lot Sunday

By Josh Campbell, Michelle Watson and Emma Tucker, CNN

The Texas police officer who shot a 17-year-old man while he was eating a meal in a McDonald’s parking lot last week has been named, as the teen remains in critical condition, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a statement.

San Antonio Officer James Brennand, described by the police department as a probationary officer with seven months of experience, was fired for violating the agency’s tactics, training and procedures, police said.

Brennand shot Erik Cantu, who was initially charged with evading detention in a vehicle and assaulting the officer, as Brennand had claimed he was struck by the door of the car as the teen backed up.

“While Sunday’s shooting of an unarmed teenager by a then-San Antonio Police officer remains under investigation, the facts and evidence we have received so far led us to reject the charges against Erik Cantu for further investigation,” Gonzales’ office said in a statement.

“Once SAPD completes its investigation into the actions of former Officer James Brennand and submits the case to our office, our Civil Rights Division will fully review the filing. As we do with all officer-involved shootings that result in death or serious injury, we will submit the case to a Grand Jury for their consideration. Until that happens, we can make no further comment on this matter.”

The teenager’s family issued a statement Monday saying he is in critical condition and underwent surgeries to repair injuries to major organs from bullets.

“Erik is currently on a life support system that is keeping his lungs operating and remains on a vast amount of sedatives to hopefully ease the discomfort and pain,” the statement said.

“He has a great medical staff that has been working diligently around the clock to provide him great care. Erik is struggling and we know that recovery will not be easy for him. Every moment is critical and the uncertainly is quite painful. We ask that everyone please keep Erik in your thoughts and prayers.”

Brian Powers, the 17-year-old’s attorney, told CNN the Bexar County District Attorney’s Office notified him on Friday prosecutors would not be moving forward with charges against his client. A spokesperson for the DA’s office referred CNN to the county’s online court record system, which indicates both charges have been dismissed and the case closed.

Powers told CNN on Saturday Cantu is “literally fighting for his life every minute of the day as his body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma.”

The union representing San Antonio Police Department officers will not provide legal services to Brennand because he was still a probationary officer, the organization told CNN in a statement Monday.

“New police recruits must complete a 1-year probationary period before becoming eligible for benefits provided by the union,” said Danny Diaz, president of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association. “The San Antonio Police Officers’ Association is not representing Officer Brennand.”

Diaz said he understands why Brennand was fired but will not comment on the incident until the investigation is completed.

Attempts to reach Brennand were unsuccessful on Sunday.

Teen suffered multiple gunshot wounds

Gonzales held a news conference Friday to address public concerns about the investigative process.

“Let me be clear that I believe that the large majority of members of the San Antonio police department do an excellent job at protecting our community and doing the right thing,” Gonzales said during the conference.

“We have other decisions we have to make down the road, which may include charging him with a crime,” he said.

The San Antonio Police Department said in a video statement the officer was handling an unrelated disturbance call at the McDonald’s Sunday night when he saw a car, he believed had evaded police the previous day and called for backup.

Before backup officers arrived, body camera video released by police shows the officer walk up to the driver’s side of the car, open the door, and order the driver out. The visibly startled teen, who was in the driver’s seat eating, put the car in reverse and started backing up.

Brennand then opened fire five times on the car, according to the video. As the driver shifted the vehicle to move forward, body camera video showed the officer opening fire an additional five times as the car drove away.

The SAPD said the teen was found a block away suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. A passenger in the car was uninjured, police said.

The SAPD said it is investigating the incident and will forward its findings to the Bexar County District Attorney, who said in a statement his office’s Civil Rights Division would be reviewing the police shooting and the charges against the teen.

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CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

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