A 17-year-old boy shot dead by a San Antonio police officer while eating a McDonald’s burger in his car had four bullets removed from his body and suffered pneumonia in hospital, his family said Tuesday in his first public remarks since the shooting earlier. this month.
“It’s very tricky. It’s very difficult,” said Erik Cantu Sr., who added that his son had had a tracheotomy and was struggling to breathe without the help of machines. “He’s a little better, his injuries are healing, but the injuries he’s endured, they’re big, there are a lot of them.”
Erik Cantu, 17, was shot dead by former San Antonio police officer James Brennand on Oct. 2 in the parking lot of a McDonald’s. Brennand was fired later that week and charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public officer. Police say Brennand violated his training and police procedures after approaching the car.
The teenager had four bullets removed from his body in hospital and one remains lodged near his heart for now, his mother said. The teenager’s mother, Victoria Casarez, said Cantu was injured in the stomach, diaphragm, lungs, liver and arm. His father said he had to be cut from the middle of his chest to his stomach in the hospital.
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“He’s just mutilated and it hurts us to see our son that way,” said Victoria Casarez.
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 that their son had been shot after being “profiled”.
Crump said the district attorney told the family the officer was looking for a Hispanic teenager with a bowl haircut and profiled Cantu. The district attorney’s office said Tuesday it does not comment publicly on the facts of ongoing cases.
Crump said the teenager “continues to fight for his life on life support”.
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Brennand had answered the McDonald’s restaurant on an unrelated call when he spotted Cantu inside the car. Authorities said Brennand later explained that he believed the vehicle was stolen and had fled the day before. Police said that although the license plates do not match the vehicle Cantu was using, the car itself was not stolen.
Casarez said she wanted to see additional charges brought against him, including attempted murder.
“There’s more to it than that that’s so disheartening to watch, to experience, and something has to be done about it,” she said, telling reporters there was more body camera footage that have not been made public.
Several family members spoke at Tuesday’s press conference, including in Spanish. A leader of LULAC, the League of United Latin American Citizens, also spoke out and demanded justice from the San Antonio Police Department.
Contributor: Associated Press
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