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Texas officer fired after shooting hamburger-eating teenager

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Posted at 4:49 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-09 20:29:35-04

AP — A Texas police officer who shot and wounded a teenager who had been sitting in his car eating a hamburger has been fired, police said.

San Antonio Officer James Brennand was fired after shooting Erik Cantu, 17, on Oct. 2 in a fast food restaurant parking lot, police training commander Alyssa Campos said in a video statement released Wednesday.

Brennand had responded to an unrelated disturbance at the fast-food restaurant when he saw the Cantu inside the car, which had evaded him a day earlier, Campos said.

Brennand, who had been on the force for less than one year, violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car, Campos said.

“The officer abruptly opened the driver’s door and ordered the driver out of the car” before the arrival of backup officers that Brennand had requested, Campos said.

Cantu, in the officer’s body camera video, looks toward Brennand while holding a hamburger, then backs the car away, striking the officer with the open door.

Brennand then opened fire several times as the door closed and Cantu drove away.

Cantu, who was struck by gunfire, stopped nearby where he and a passenger, who was not injured, were found by police.

“There is nothing I can say in defense of that officer’s actions that night,” Police Chief William McManus told WOAI-TV. “I think what happened, initially, there was some contact made, but that did not justify the shooting.”

Cantu was hospitalized in stable condition and charged with evading police and aggravated assault, but Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said Thursday that no decision had been made on whether to pursue formal charges against either Cantu or Brennand.

“The DA’s Office can make no comment on whether charges may be pursued against either individual until all evidence has been reviewed,” according to the statement by Gonzales.

Gonzales’ office, police and an attorney for Cantu did not immediately return phone calls for comment on Friday.