EXCLUSIVE: Rookie San Antonio cop who shot boy, 17, in McDonald’s parking lot slapped HANDCUFFS on the seriously wounded teen as he gasped for air

By Shawn Cohen In San Antonio, Texas, For Dailymail.Com, updated

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11311889/Rookie-San-Antonio-cop-shot-boy-17-car-slapped-handcuffs-teen-firing.html

  • Rookie San Antonio cop James Brennand, 25, shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu as he sat in his car eating a cheeseburger in a McDonald’s parking lot
  • DailyMail.com can reveal that Brennand slapped handcuffs on Cantu after he opened fire and while the teen was on the pavement gasping for air 
  • Brennand has been fired and charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and was released after posting bail 
  • The officer said he believed Cantu’s car had been stolen
  • Police confirmed Cantu’s car had a license plate registered to a different vehicle, but have not confirmed whether it was stolen 
  • The teen is still in critical condition in the hospital fighting a high fever

Rookie cop James Brennand slapped handcuffs on seriously wounded 17-year-old Erik Cantu after shooting him up to five times in a McDonald’s parking lot, DailyMail.com can reveal exclusively.

Then the San Antonio officer ordered Cantu’s female passenger to ‘turn around.’

At the time, Cantu had already gotten out of his 2008 BMW 1281 and was keeled over on the pavement gasping for air, according to the girl’s horrifying account shared exclusively with DailyMail.com.

The girl, also 17, miraculously wasn’t hit in the barrage of 10 bullets, fired by the cop who has since been fired and criminally charged for his actions.

Brennand, 25, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault following the shocking shooting of Cantu
Brennand, 25, has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault following the shocking shooting of Cantu

Erik Cantu is still in critical condition and is being monitored closely. Surgeries were performed to repair injures to a few major organs as a result of the penetration of multiple bullets

Erik Cantu is still in critical condition and is being monitored closely. Surgeries were performed to repair injures to a few major organs as a result of the penetration of multiple bullets
Cantu, who was shot several times by Brennand as he sat in his car eating a McDonald's cheeseburger, is currently on life support after several of his organs were punctured during the shooting

Cantu, who was shot several times by Brennand as he sat in his car eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger, is currently on life support after several of his organs were punctured during the shooting
DailyMail.com can reveal that Brennand slapped handcuffs on Cantu after he opened fire and while the teen was on the pavement gasping for air

DailyMail.com can reveal that Brennand slapped handcuffs on Cantu after he opened fire and while the teen was on the pavement gasping for air

Cantu is still in the hospital on life support, family attorney Brian Powers told DailyMail.com Thursday.

‘He is currently fighting a high fever and remains attached to mechanical ventilation,’ said Powers.

He said Cantu’s family is grateful for the prayers and messages of support they have received.

And in a statement from the family, he said: ‘Erik feels your presence. Please continue to believe and hope that our boy opens his eyes soon.’

The girl was in the front passenger seat when Cantu drove to McDonald’s on Blanco Road in San Antonio late on October 2.

She has been left in shock and is also feeling some guilt because it was her decision to eat outside the fast food restaurant that night.

Cantu, who she is dating, wanted to dine inside, but she was tired and pleaded with him to use the drive-through so they could just eat in the car, sources said.

After picking up their order at the window, they parked in the lot and were listening to music as Cantu took his first few bites.

Brennand is pictured in a mugshot after turning himself into police before posting his $200,000 bail
Brennand is pictured in a mugshot after turning himself into police before posting his $200,000 bail

That’s when the cop spotted the maroon car and reportedly suspected it was stolen.

Police confirmed Cantu’s car had a license plate registered to a different vehicle, but have not confirmed whether it was stolen.

Brennand abruptly opened the door and demanded Cantu get out.

The girl has said they were both startled and fearful, not understanding what was happening, sources told DailyMail.com.

Brennand’s bodycam footage shows the initial encounter.

As Cantu questioned the officer’s orders, he attempted to put the car in reverse and the door caught Brennand, who rapidly fired several shots into the driver’s side of the vehicle.

The girl heard the loud cracks of gunfire as they drove off. They then stopped a block away.

The girl helped Cantu unfasten his seat belt, and they both stepped out. Cantu was holding his shot arm, not knowing he’d been hit elsewhere .

‘He thought it was just his arm,’ a source said.

He was crying ‘help’ and telling her to ‘call an ambulance,’ the source added.

She cradled his head on her lap on the pavement. She saw blood coming from his stomach and was also screaming out for help.

The officer caught up with them moments later. According to the girl’s account, Brennand cuffed Cantu’s hands behind his back, while telling her to look away.

While it is standard procedure for cops to handcuff a suspect even before administering aid to avoid potentially unruly behavior, several people close to Cantu told DailyMail.com they found it wildly inappropriate given the officer is the one who repeatedly shot the unarmed teen.

They also found it bizarre that he’d be telling his passenger to look away, regardless of his intention.

Authorities have yet to release the bodycam footage of the cuffing. They say Brennand administered CPR while he waited for paramedics.

According to his LinkedIn page, Brennand previously served in the US Army as a military dog handler. He enlisted in 2016. Brennand was stationed outside of Seattle

According to his LinkedIn page, Brennand previously served in the US Army as a military dog handler. He enlisted in 2016. Brennand was stationed outside of Seattle
Brennand and his wife Danielle Arnold pictured in a photoshopped image created by their realtor when Arnold could not be present when the pair closed on a home in 2021
Brennand and his wife Danielle Arnold pictured in a photoshopped image created by their realtor when Arnold could not be present when the pair closed on a home in 2021

Law enforcement initially charged Cantu with evading arrest and assault on a police officer, but those charges have since been dropped.

Cantu remains under sedation on life support at University Hospital in San Antonio, where he has had to undergo a number of surgeries to repair major organs that were damaged by the gunfire.

Brennand, 25, a probationary officer, has been fired by the police department and charged criminally with two counts of aggravated assault by a peace officer.

He turned himself in to police Tuesday night and was released the next day after posting a $100,000 bond.

He is a married former soldier who was commended for his firearm skills while in the police academy.

Eric Cantu pictured on his Facebook page in September 2022. He is still in critical condition

Eric Cantu pictured on his Facebook page in September 2022. He is still in critical condition

Family attorney Powers said that Cantu faces a long road to recovery but that his family are thankful for the prayers they have received.

‘Erik is still in critical condition and is being monitored closely. Surgeries were performed to repair injures to a few major organs as a result of the penetration of multiple 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.

‘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.’

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