A 17-year-old boy shot by a San Antonio police officer while eating a McDonald’s hamburger in his car had four bullets removed from his body and suffered a pneumonia in the hospital, his family said Tuesday in their first public remarks since the shooting earlier this month.
“It’s very touch and go. It’s very hard,” Erik Cantu Sr. said, who added his son got had a tracheotomy and is struggling to breathe without assistance from machines. “He is getting slightly better, his wounds are healing, but the wounds that he’s endured, they are great, there’s a lot of them.”
Erik Cantu, 17, was shot by former San Antonio police officer James Brennand on Oct. 2 in a McDonald’s parking lot. Brennand was fired later that week and charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public official. Police said Brennand violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car.
The teen had four bullets removed from his body in the hospital and one remains lodged near his heart for now, his mother said. The teen’s mother, Victoria Casarez, said Cantu was wounded in his stomach, diaphragm, lungs, liver and arm. His father said he had to be cut from the middle of his chest to his stomach at the hospital.
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“He’s just mutilated and it hurts us to see our son this way,” Victoria Casarez said.
Speaking at Tuesday’s press conference, civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the family, said Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales met with Cantu’s parents and told them their son was shot after he was “profiled.”
Crump said the district attorney told the family the officer was looking for a Hispanic teen with a bowl haircut and profiled Cantu. The district attorney’s office on Tuesday said it does not publicly comment on the facts of pending cases.
Crump said the teen “is continuing to fight for his life on life support.”
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Brennand had been responding to the McDonald’s restaurant on an unrelated call when he spotted Cantu inside the car. Authorities said Brennand later explained he believed the vehicle was stolen and had fled from him the day before. Police have said that although registration plates didn’t match the vehicle Cantu was operating, the car itself was not stolen.
Casarez said she wants to see additional charges against him, including attempted murder.
“There’s more to it that is so disheartening to watch, to experience, and there needs to be something done about that,” she said, telling reporters there was more body camera footage that has not been released to the public.
Multiple family members spoke at Tuesday’s press conference, including in Spanish. A leader from LULAC, the League of United Latino American Citizens, also spoke and demanded justice from the San Antonio police department.
Contributing: Associated Press