Rookie ex-soldier cop is fired after shooting unarmed teen eating cheeseburger outside McDonald’s

A San Antonio rookie police officer fired after shooting an unarmed 17-year-old boy who was eating a burger in a McDonald’s parking lot is also a former soldier and received a commendation for his firearm skills while at the police academy.

(Video Credit: San Antonio Police Department)

James Brennand, 25, is also married to another former service member. He had been an officer for seven months when the incident with Erik Cantu took place.

The officer shot and wounded Cantu on Oct. 2 after responding to an unrelated disturbance at the fast-food restaurant. He spotted the boy in his car eating. Brennand mistakenly believed the boy had evaded him the night before, according to the Daily Mail. The license plates allegedly did not match the car.

He ordered the teen to get out of the car. Cantu put the car in reverse and proceeded to attempt to drive off, allegedly hitting the rookie with the car door. The officer fired several shots into the vehicle, wounding the boy. Reports indicate that the rookie fired five shots into the car and five more shots as it sped away.

Brennand had requested backup that had not arrived yet. He also administered CPR while waiting for paramedics to arrive.

There was also an unarmed female passenger in the car. She was not injured in the shooting. Cantu is listed in critical but stable condition. He is at University Hospital following the shooting.

Brennand’s LinkedIn page says he served in the US Army as a military dog handler. He enlisted in 2016 and was stationed outside of Seattle. The now-former officer describes his skillset as including, “Law Enforcement, Operational Planning, Active DoD Secret Clearance, Military Operations, and Security.” His degrees are in criminal justice and police science.

Brennand graduated from the San Antonio Police Training Academy in 2021. He finished fourth in his class in firearms and was commended for his skills.

He is married to Danielle Arnold, who is or was a dog handler with the US Army. They were married on July 12, 2019, and had a baby in August 2022.

Brennand was fired on Wednesday by the San Antonio Police Department. He was still in his probationary period when he was terminated so he is not entitled to an appeal. A case could be argued that the boy was ordered to get out of the car and then fled the scene. However, in this politically correct climate, the rookie is being made an example of and has been given the boot, with prejudice.

Giving credence to that argument, police initially pressed charges against Cantu for evading arrest and assaulting a police officer. Those charges have now been dropped.

Unfortunately for Brennand, he claimed that he opened fire on the teen after he hit him with his car. Bodycam footage allegedly shows otherwise.

Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales confirmed at a press briefing on Friday that after reviewing the video, his office instructed the police department to drop the charges against Cantu.

Brennand is now being investigated over the shooting and it is possible he may face criminal charges.

Gonzales said the investigation could take up to a year, and “the DA’s Office will also review all evidence related to the charges against Erik Cantu once we have received it.”

“There is nothing I can say in defense of that officer’s actions that night,” Police Chief William McManus stated, according to the New York Post. “I think what happened, initially, there was some contact made, but that did not justify the shooting.”

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