James Brennand San Antonio probationary police officer fired for shooting at teen eating at McDonald’s parking lot after believing him to have stolen car. Rookie cop cited for failing to correctly follow police protocol as Erik Cantu was shot at ten times.
Erik Cantu, 17, remains in hospital with multiple gunshot wounds in critical but ‘stable condition’.
James Brennand, a probationary police officer who served on the San Antonio force for only seven months, and married former military man was dismissed Wednesday after being placed on administrative duty following the incident which took place on Sunday night. The unfolding scene was captured on police body-cam video.
Brennand was called to the McDonald’s on Sunday for a reported disturbance before he noticed Cantu’s car outside the restaurant according to the San Antonio Report.
The officer thought the car was the same one that evaded him the night before when he attempted to stop the vehicle as the registered license plate didn’t match the vehicle.
Fired five shots at the driver and another five as teen drove off
Brennand approached Cantu’s maroon car and called for cover, only to take matters into his own hands and opened the car door without issuing a warning.
He surprised Cantu who was eating a cheeseburger next to a 17-year-old female passenger, and demanded the teen get out of the car.
As Cantu questioned the officer’s orders, he attempted to put the car in reverse and attempted to leave only for the door to catch Brennand.
Brennand, who stepped back from the vehicle proceeded to fire five shots at the driver. As the car exited the parking lot, Brennand fired five more times officer cam video showed.
Brennand, who has not yet been charged with a crime, quickly opened fire and shot into the driver’s side of the vehicle as Cantu reversed, and the bodycam footage caught the cop shouting ‘shots fired!’ into his radio.
Cantu pulled out of the parking spot and tried to drive away, but Brennand continued shooting into the back of the vehicle.
The teens were then found outside the vehicle a block away from the shooting, and Cantu suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was rushed to University Hospital.
‘entirely against policy and training that we receive.’
Police have not confirmed whether Cantu’s car was stolen.
The police report stated Brennand performed CPR on Cantu when he caught up, and the female passenger in the car was uninjured.
Police Chief William McManus told the San Antonio Report that Brennand’s actions were ‘entirely against policy and training that we receive.’
Tactically, the officer should not have placed himself in front of an open door of a car that was turned on, McManus told the outlet. And once the officer ‘cleared the door and was no longer in danger of being knocked down or pulled out of the car, he was not in a position where he should have used deadly force.’
The second round of shots was also against policy, the police chief said.
‘The driver was going in the opposite direction, away from the officer,’ McManus said. ‘There’s no way I could look at that, or anyone could look at it, and try to justify what happened.’
DA’s office launches investigation
Brennand’s actions don’t give McManus cause for concern over the SAPD training processes.
‘Our policies are sound and our training is sound,’ he said. ‘And I don’t see anywhere that would require review. … This was an individual failure. Not a training failure, not a policy failure.’
Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said the investigation could take up to a year, and ‘the DA’s Office will also review all evidence related to the charges against Erik Cantu once we have received it.’
Cantu was even charged by proxy with evading detention in a vehicle and assault on an officer, Gonzales announced.
Brennand is not entitled to an appeal of his termination because he was still considered a probationary officer, on the job for just seven months. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, police said, and all officer-involved shootings are forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office for review, KSAT reported.
Of note, Brennand is no stranger to shooting – he placed fourth in the ‘firearms’ category in his police cadet class in 2021, according to a Facebook post.
The fired cop’s LinkedIn page, describes Brennand previously having served in the US Army as a military dog handler. He enlisted in 2016 and was stationed outside of Seattle.
On the profile, Brennand refers to himself as an ‘experienced working dog handler with a demonstrated history of working in the military industry.’ He also says that he is ‘Skilled in Law Enforcement, Operational Planning, Active DoD Secret Clearance, Military Operations, and Security.’