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17-year-old shot in McDonald’s parking lot by San Antonio officer released from hospital

Erik Cantu, who has been hospitalized since the Oct. 2 shooting, is back home but "still has a long road to recovery ahead of him," his parents said Wednesday.

Erik Cantu, the 17-year-old boy who was shot by a San Antonio police officer in the parking lot of a McDonald's, is back home after spending nearly two painstaking months in the hospital, his family announced. 

Erik Cantu with his parents upon release from a hospital in San Antonio.
Erik Cantu with his parents upon release from a hospital in San Antonio.Cantu Family Handout / Ben Crump Law

Cantu was placed on life support after the Oct. 2 shooting, in which he was shot multiple times by Officer James Brennand, and was "fighting for his life" in the subsequent weeks, his attorney Brian Powers, previously said.

Cantu’s parents issued a statement Wednesday saying he was released from the hospital just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

"Our family’s prayers have been answered, and we are incredibly grateful that our son Erik is home with us. Erik still has a long road to recovery ahead of him but, we are overjoyed at his progress in the past two weeks," they said.

“It means the world to us that we can spend Thanksgiving as a family outside of the hospital walls, where we have lived since Erik was horribly injured,” the statement continued. “We are thankful for many blessings this week — Erik’s strength, everyone who has supported us through Erik’s hospitalization, and the grace of God. Thank you.”

In the Oct. 2 shooting, Cantu was sitting in a maroon vehicle in the parking lot of a McDonald's when Brennand, who was present on an unrelated disturbance call, opened the driver’s door and ordered him to get out, police have said.

Police body camera footage showed Cantu in the driver’s seat eating a hamburger and a 17-year-old girl in the passenger seat. 

He put the car in reverse with the driver’s door still open and backed up. Capt. Alyssa Campos, the police department’s training commander, said in a video statement that the door hit Brennand. 

Brennand then opened fire five times as the car reversed, the video showed. He fired five more shots as Cantu drove away. Cantu was found a block away suffering multiple gunshot wounds and was hospitalized, police said.

Police said that Brennand approached Cantu’s car because he believed it had evaded him the day before when he tried to conduct a traffic stop. Campos said Brennand thought the car was stolen, a claim the family denies.

At the time of the shooting, Brennand had been on the force for seven months and was still on probation, a standard practice for San Antonio officers who graduated from the police academy less than a year ago.

He was fired after the shooting, then arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on Oct. 11. He posted bond and was released.