Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Former SAPD officer eludes attempted murder charge

Kylar Royer

In 2022, a national outrage occurred when 17-year-old Erik Cantu was shot by former SAPD officer James Brennand in a McDonald’s parking lot. Yesterday, it was announced that Brennand is no longer facing attempted murder charges.

 Previously released body cam footage shows Cantu eating a hamburger in his car while Brennand approached the vehicle saying, “Get out of the car.” Immediately, Cantu is seen reversing his vehicle with the door left ajar, followed by Brennand reaching for his firearm and firing at the teen’s vehicle. Cantu was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he stayed for the next two weeks. 

Brennand was responding to an unrelated report at the Mcdonalds’ where Cantu was located. He claimed he recognized Cantu’s car — which he suspected was stolen — because it had evaded him that night before in an attempted traffic stop. 

Following the shooting, Cantu was charged with “evading detention in a vehicle and assaulting an officer.” Eventually, both charges were dropped by the Bexar County’s District Attorney’s office and Brennand was fired for violating the district’s tactics, training and procedures. Cantu eventually made a full recovery and has since been arrested three times for various criminal activities. 

On Oct. 4, 2022, Brennand was charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant and one count of attempted murder. While, in most cases, officers are not criminally charged with anything when they use force while on duty, police chief William McManus said this case was different because firing at a moving vehicle violates department protocol unless it is necessary to protect an officer or others from injury or death. 

As of last week, a new indictment has been issued to Brennand, which states that the aggravated assault charges remain the same, but he is no longer facing charges of attempted murder. Instead, it has been substituted with a third-degree felony charge of deadly conduct. The difference is that attempted murder has to show that Brennand intended to kill Cantu, whereas deadly conduct proves recklessness “that places another in imminent danger of serious bodily injury.” 

If convicted, Brennand faces a potential range of 5 years to life in prison. 

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About the Contributors
Laynie Clark
Laynie Clark, Editor-in-Chief
Laynie (she/her) is a third-year Psychology major with a minor in Nonprofit Management. She is passionate about mental health awareness and joined The Paisano in the spring of 2021 to share her passion with others. After graduation, she plans to return to school for her master’s, and just figure out the rest as it happens. When she is not swamped with school, you can always find her reading cheesy romance novels or driving around aimlessly. In addition to her love for cheesy romance novels, Laynie has a mild addiction to all things Marvel-related and has written countless reviews to prove it.
Kylar Royer
Kylar Royer, Assistant Photo Editor

Kylar Royer (he/him) is a class of 2023 biology major  and a minor in psychology graduating this fall. He will be attending Parker University next summer pursuing a doctorate of chiropractic and masters in clinical neuroscience. Kylar has been a photographer for over 5 years and joined The Paisano staff in fall 2022, this is his first semester as the assistant photo editor. Outside of school, you will Kylar reading about natural medicine and philosophy accompanied by Dixieland jazz music.

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