Policeman sacked after shooting at teen parked up eating a McDonald’s burger

A San Antonio police offer has lost his job after he fired shots at a 17-year-old boy whilst he was parked eating a burger at McDonald's.

The teenager, Erik Cantu, is currently hospitalised after suffering several gunshot wounds. The officer, identified as James Brennand, was still in his probationary period and has been dismissed after responding to the fast food restaurant on Sunday (October 2) night for an unrelated disturbance call, according to police.

The car, driven by Cantu, was not the subject of the disturbance call, according to Capt. Alyssa Campos, the department’s training commander. She said in a statement: "As the officer attempted to gather information from witnesses, he noticed a vehicle that had evaded him the day before as the officer attempted a stop because the registered license plate did not match the actual vehicle."

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Brennand had been part of the police for seven months and was still on probation, which is normal practice for San Antonio officers who graduated from the police academy within 12 months.

Chief William McManus said: “The former Officer’s actions are indefensible and do not align with our training, tactics and procedures. As such, I terminated him. I will withhold further comment as this incident is still under investigation."

The officer, who thought the car driven by Cantu was stolen, called "for cover" but approached the vehicle before other officers arrived, said his captain. Campos added that the officer "abruptly" opened the driver's door and ordered Cantu to get out. Police have not said if the car was stolen.

Body-camera footage released by the department shows Cantu sitting in the driver's seat eating a McDonald's hamburger. A 17-year-old girl is in the passenger's seat.

"Get out of the car," the officer says to Cantu. Cantu puts the car in reverse with the driver's door still open and reversed. "The officer then stepped back and opened fire on the vehicle as the driver reversed away from him," said Campos.

Multiple gunshots can be heard in the video as the car backs away and the driver's door closes. More shots are fired as the car drives away from the parking lot. Cantu and his passenger, who was not injured, were found about a block away.

Cantu has been charged by police with evading detention with a vehicle and assault on a peace officer. It is not known if he has obtained an attorney who can speak on his behalf. Danny Diaz, president of the San Antonio Police Officers’ Association, has said he will not be commenting until an investigation is completed.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales has said there is currently not enough evidence to file charges against the teenager. He said: “While Sunday’s shooting of an unarmed teenager by a then-San Antonio Police officer remains under investigation, the facts and evidence we have received so far led us to reject the charges against Erik Cantu for further investigation,"

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