Texas

Erik Cantu Jr., teen shot by former San Antonio officer James Brennand, back home from hospital

Signed by ‘Erik’s family,’ the GoFundMe Post said Cantu will still need rehabilitation.

The Cantu Family

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Erik Cantu Jr., the teen shot by former San Antonio Police Department officer James Brennand, was discharged from the hospital and returned home.

The family of 17-year-old Cantu posted a photo of the teen standing outside his home, a medical patch covering his neck, in a post on his GoFundMe page.

Signed by "Erik's family," the GoFundMe Post said he will still need rehabilitation, and it expressed thanks that he survived.

"Today we know with faith, prayers, family, love, amazing doctors and nursing staff along with tons of future rehabilitation, that our miracle stands a chance!!" the statement said.

The teenager was shot on Oct. 2 after Brennand, a probationary officer at the time, approached his vehicle in a McDonald's parking lot after he recognized it as one that had fled a traffic stop the previous day.

The full GoFundMe post that includes the photo of Erik Cantu Jr. in the lead of the story and the text alongside it. The text reads:

After Brennand forced open Cantu's door and demanded he get out, Cantu put the car in reverse and attempted to flee. After the open car door struck the officer and pushed him back, Brennand shot multiple times into the vehicle.

Cantu then pulled the door closed and began driving away from the officer. Brennand fired several more times at the vehicle. A 17-year-old female in the passenger seat was uninjured.

Cantu suffered injuries to his lungs, chest, stomach and liver.

Brennand was fired by SAPD days after the shooting and was charged with two counts of first-degree felony aggravated assault by a public servant.

Cantu’s mother, Victoria Casarez, called for the former officer who shot her son to be charged with attempted murder during a press conference on Oct. 25.

There is technically no statute for "attempted murder" in the Texas criminal code. Instead, when an individual is being charged for attempting a particular crime, such as murder, they may be charged with the crime at one degree lower.

In this case, that could be second-degree murder. That charge carries a sentence of two to 20 years. Brennand's current charges for first-degree aggravated assault by a public servant carry sentences of five to 99 years.

Ben Crump, the high-profile civil rights lawyer retained by Cantu’s family in mid-October and who spoke at the Oct. 25 press conference, said his legal team would inquire with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division to discuss possible federal civil rights violation charges against Brennand.

Brennand's criminal pre-hearing was scheduled for Nov. 23, but now will be rescheduled to a yet-to-be-determined date.

Copyright 2022 Texas Public Radio. To see more, visit Texas Public Radio.

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