Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales announced Thursday that a grand jury has indicted former San Antonio Police Officer James Brennand of attempted murder for the Oct. 2 shooting of an unarmed teenager. Image courtesy Bexar County Sheriff’s Office/Facebook
Dec 1 (UPI) — A Texas grand jury on Thursday indicted a former San Antonio police officer with attempted murder and assault over the past month for the shooting dead of an armed 17-year-old boy who was parked in a car parked by a McDonald’s restaurant.
The officer, 28-year-old James Brennand, was charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon by an officer and one attempted murder, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales announced Thursday during a news conference.
Brennand was originally arrested last month for assault after shooting Eric Cantu on the night of October 2nd.
Body camera footage of the incident released by the San Antonio Police Department shows Brennand, who has been on the scene for less than a year, approaching a vehicle before opening its door and telling his passenger, Cantu, to “get out.” the car.”
With the door ajar, a seemingly startled Cantu shifts into reverse, and as he attempts to drive away, Brennand fires multiple shots into and at the vehicle.
Police had said Brennand was at the McDonald’s for an unrelated incident and approached Cantu’s car, believing it had swerved from him the day before.
Cantu sustained multiple gunshot wounds in the incident and was hospitalized in critical condition and placed on life support. According to a GoFundMe for Cantu, the teen returned home last week.
Gonzales told reporters Thursday they will do everything in their power to ensure Cantu gets the justice he deserves.
“Justice means prosecuting that person for that behavior. Justice means obtaining a conviction. Justice means making sure a man never works as a member of law enforcement, making sure that man never has a gun and a badge,” he said. “Justice means seeking an appropriate punishment.”
Gonzales explained that Brennand was charged with two counts of first-degree assault for each occupant of the vehicle, as 17-year-old Emily Proulx was in the passenger seat. She was unharmed.
If convicted, Brennand could face five years on each of the assault charges and two to 20 years on second-degree attempted murder.
“We will definitely look for what we think is an appropriate punishment and at the moment the maximum penalty seems appropriate to me,” he said.
The case, he said, is set to be handled by Daryl Harris, the bureau’s chief of civil rights.
Harris told reporters they had met with the Cantu family, briefed them on the development and were confident that justice would be served.
“No one doing this for a living is about predicting the outcome. But I would say this: if we get to this point in the time I’ve been in this office, we feel confident and satisfied with our evidence to date, we have confidence in our ability to take that evidence to whatever end to pursue.”