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San Antonio officer is fired after shooting teenager in a McDonald's parking lot

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

A teenager eating in his car in a McDonald's parking lot was shot by a rookie police officer just over a week ago. That teen is on life support. And authorities are investigating the shooting. Texas Public Radio's Marian Navarro has more on the incident in San Antonio.

MARIAN NAVARRO, BYLINE: Officer James Brennand had been with the San Antonio Police Department for just seven months when he was dispatched to the McDonald's for an unrelated disturbance call the night of October 2. On body camera footage released by the police department, he's heard identifying a car in the parking lot as a vehicle that fled from him the night before. The video shows Brennand as he approaches the car and suddenly opens the driver-side door. Seventeen-year-old Erik Cantu is seen sitting inside. He orders Cantu to get out.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JAMES BRENNAND: Get out of the car.

ERIK CANTU: What...

NAVARRO: Seconds later, Brennand is heard firing several shots at the car as it backs up and then more shots as it moves to the parking lot. Cantu suffered multiple gunshot wounds. A female passenger, also 17, was uninjured. Cantu's lawyer, Brian Powers, said in a statement yesterday that his client is in critical condition. Three days after the shooting, the San Antonio Police Department announced in a video statement that it had terminated Brennand. Police Chief William McManus told San Antonio news affiliate KENS 5 that Brennand's actions were not justified.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

WILLIAM MCMANUS: Nothing that that officer did that night were in accordance with our training or our policies.

NAVARRO: Attempts to reach Brennand and the police union for comment were unsuccessful. Cantu was initially charged with evading detention in a vehicle and assaulting a police officer. But on Friday, Bexar County District Attorney Joe Gonzales said in a news conference recorded by local station News Four WOAI that his office had dropped the charges against Cantu.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

JOE GONZALES: Exercising my discretion, what I decided to do was to, for now, dismiss this case so that his family can be by his side.

NAVARRO: Officials with the San Antonio police say they support Gonzales' decision to drop the charges. Both the police department and the Bexar County District Attorney's Civil Rights Division say they've launched investigations into the shooting.

For NPR News, I'm Marian Navarro in San Antonio. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Marian Navarro