Rookie cop James Brennand handcuffed critically injured 17-year-old Erik Cantu after shooting him up to five times in a parking lot at McDonald’s, DailyMail.com can exclusively reveal.
Then the San Antonio officer ordered Cantu’s female passenger to “turn around.”
At the time, Cantu had already got out of his 2008 BMW 1281 and was lying prostrate on the pavement gasping for breath, according to the girl’s horrifying account shared exclusively with DailyMail.com.
The girl, also 17, was miraculously not hit in the barrage of 10 bullets fired by the officer who has since been fired and charged with criminal charges for his actions.
Rookie San Antonio cop James Brennand, 25, shot 17-year-old Erik Cantu while he was sitting in his car in a parking lot at McDonald’s
Cantu, who was shot multiple times by Brennand while eating a McDonald’s cheeseburger in his car, is currently on a ventilator after several of his organs were punctured in the shooting.
DailyMail.com can reveal Brennand handcuffed Cantu after opening fire and as teen gasped on pavement
Cantu is still in hospital on life support, family attorney Brian Powers told DailyMail.com on Thursday.
“He is currently battling 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 keep believing and hope 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 on Oct. 2.
She has been left in shock and also feels a bit guilty 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 begged him to use the drive-through so they could just eat in the car, sources said.
After collecting their order from the window, they parked in the parking lot and listened to music as Cantu took his first few bites.
Brennand is pictured in a mugshot after turning himself in to police before paying his $200,000 bail
Then the officer saw the maroon car and suspected it had been stolen.
Police confirmed that Cantu’s car had a license plate registered to another vehicle, but did not confirm whether it had been stolen.
Brennand opened the door abruptly and demanded Cantu get out.
The girl has said she was both shocked and anxious and did not understand what was happening, sources told DailyMail.com.
Brennand’s bodycam images show the first meeting.
While Cantu questioned the officer’s orders, he attempted to reverse the car and the door caught Brennand, who quickly fired several shots into the driver’s side of the vehicle.
Cantu tried to drive away, but Brennand kept firing, firing a total of ten shots, four or five of which hit the teenager.
The girl heard the loud booms of gunshots as they drove away. They then stopped a block away.
The girl helped Cantu unfasten his seat belt and they both got out. Cantu held his shot arm, unaware that he had been hit elsewhere.
“He thought it was just his arm,” said a source.
He yelled “help” and told her to “call an ambulance,” the source added.
She laid his head on her lap on the sidewalk. She saw blood coming from his stomach and also screamed for help.
Moments later, the officer caught up with them. According to the girl’s story, Brennand tied Cantu’s hands behind his back while telling her to look away.
While it is standard procedure for officers to cuff a suspect even before providing assistance to prevent potentially unruly behavior, several people close to Cantu told DailyMail.com that they found it deeply inappropriate, as the officer is the one who shot the unarmed teen repeatedly.
They also thought it was bizarre that he would tell his passenger to look away, regardless of his intent.
Authorities have not yet released bodycam images of the cuffing. They say Brennand is administering CPR while waiting for an ambulance.
According to his LinkedIn page, Brennand previously served in the US military as a military dog handler. He enlisted in 2016. Brennand was stationed outside Seattle
Brennand and wife Danielle Arnold pictured in a Photoshopped image taken by their real estate agent when Arnold was unable to attend when the couple closed a house in 2021
Law enforcement officers initially charged Cantu with evading arrest and assaulting a police officer, but those charges have since been dropped.
Cantu is still under anesthesia at University Hospital in San Antonio, where he has had to undergo a number of surgeries to repair key organs damaged by the gunfire.
Brennand, 25, a probationary officer, has been fired by police and charged 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 paying $100,000 bail.
He is a married former soldier who was praised for his firearms skills while in the police academy.
Eric Cantu photographed on his Facebook page in September 2022. He is still in critical condition
Family lawyer Powers said Cantu faces a long road to recovery, but his family is grateful for the prayers they have received.
“Erik and our family would like to thank all of our family, friends, the wonderful city of San Antonio and everyone around the world who sent their heartfelt prayers and blessings,” Powers said in a statement.
Erik is still in critical condition and is being closely monitored. Surgeries were performed to repair injuries to some key organs due to multiple bullet penetration. Erik is currently on a life support system that keeps his lungs working and remains on a massive amount of sedatives to hopefully ease the discomfort and pain.
“He has a wonderful medical staff who have worked diligently around the clock to provide him with good care. Erik is having a hard time and we know the recovery will not be easy for him. Every moment is critical and the uncertainty is quite painful. We ask everyone to keep Erik in mind and prayers.”