A former San Antonio police officer who shot a teenager eating a hamburger in his car in a McDonald’s car park has been arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault.
James Brennand, 25, was charged on Tuesday over the 2 October shooting of Erik Cantu, according to a police statement.
The 17-year-old, who was shot several times, remains unconscious and on life support, a lawyer for the family said.
Brennand, who had been on the force for seven months and was still in his probationary period at the time, was fired two days after the incident.
Police chief William McManus said Brennand faces two counts of aggravated assault, because two people were in the car when the shots were fired. A 17-year-old girl in the passenger seat was not injured.
Brennand was responding to reports of an unrelated disturbance at the fast-food restaurant when he spotted Mr Cantu’s car.
He reported the vehicle Mr Cantu was sitting in had evaded him the night before during an attempted traffic stop. Brennand said he suspected the car was stolen.
Bodycam footage released by police showed Brennand open the car door and tell the teenager to get out.
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The boy reversed the car with the door open, and the officer fired several times at the vehicle – and continued to shoot at it as the car was driven away.
Investigators quickly determined the use of deadly force was unwarranted, and Brennand was sacked. Charges against Mr Cantu of aggravated assault and evading arrest were dropped.
Mr McManus said Brennand’s actions were “unjustified”.
The police chief defended the department’s training and said the failures were those of the individual officer.
He added that if Mr Cantu’s condition changed – the charges against Brennand would too.