Parents Say Teen Shot by Rookie Cop Is 'Mutilated'

Erik Cantu is still fighting for his life more than 3 weeks after shooting in McDonald's parking lot
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 26, 2022 3:30 PM CDT
Mom: Teen Shot in McDonald's Parking Lot Is 'Just Mutilated'
Eric Cantu Sr. and Victoria Casarez listen as Benjamin Crump addresses the news media about their 17-year-old son Erik Cantu during a press conference in front of the Bexar County Courthouse in San Antonio, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2022.   (Sam Owens/The San Antonio Express-News via AP)

The parents of a 17-year-old boy shot by a rookie San Antonio police officer while he was eating a hamburger in a car in a McDonald’s parking lot is still hospitalized and fighting for his life with a bullet lodged near his heart, his parents and attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday. Erik Cantu is "just mutilated, and it hurts us to see our son that way," mother Victoria Casarez said, per NBC. She said four bullets were found in her son's body. and he was wounded in the stomach, diaphragm, lungs, liver, and arm. She said doctors have been unable to remove the bullet near his heart because it "would do more harm than good."

Father Eric Cantu said Erik's condition is still "touch and go"; he has been battling pneumonia and a fever, as well as a bad reaction to narcotics he was given by doctors. In the Oct. 2 shooting, Officer James Brennand, who was at the McDonalds for an unrelated matter, opened the car door and ordered Cantu to get out. Body camera footage shows that he opened fire as the car reversed with the door still open and continued shooting as Cantu drove away, the AP reports. Police have said Brennand believed, incorrectly, that the car was stolen. The 27-year-old, who had been on the force for seven months, was fired and charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.

San Antonio Police Chief William McManus has described the shooting as "unjustified both administratively and criminally." Crump, a prominent civil rights attorney who represented the families of Trayvon Martin and George Floyd, said the Bexar County DA told him the teen was racially profiled because the officer was looking for "a Hispanic kid with a bowl haircut." He urged the DA to "throw the book" at Brennand and said he will also look into federal civil rights charge. "If we don’t get justice for Erik Cantu, then it could happen to you," he said, per Texas Public Radio. (More San Antonio stories.)

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