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Former SAPD officer who shot unarmed teen in parking lot officially charged

"The video was horrific," San Antonio Police Chief William McManus said about footage of the incident, calling the shooting "unjustified."

SAN ANTONIO — Making good on his promise from earlier in the day, San Antonio Police Chief William McManus says James Brennand – the officer fired after shooting a local teen in a McDonald’s parking lot on Oct. 2 – has been charged with two counts of aggravated assault by a public servant.

Speaking to news media in the same building where protesters called for Brennand to be charged just hours before, the SAPD head said the officer turned himself in Tuesday evening after a warrant was obtained. 

"We worked on this for several days to get to this point where we could submit a warrant to a judge for signature," McManus said. "And that’s where we are right now.”

Erik Cantu, 17, remains hospitalized as of Tuesday night. 

The police chief added he didn't expect department policies to be reviewed in light of the shooting, saying the Oct. 2 incident was "a failure by one individual police officer."

"Our training and our policies are sound," McManus said. "It (Brennand's actions) was unjustified, both administratively and criminally."

Brennand's bond was set at $200,000. 

The events of Oct. 2

The shooting occurred at the McDonald's on Blanco Road and West Avenue, on the north side. 

Brennand had responded to an unrelated disturbance at the fast-food restaurant when he saw Cantu inside the car, which he said had evaded him a day earlier, according to officials. 

Video shows the officer opening the driver's side door and ordering the teen out of the car. The car backed up, and within seconds the officer fired five shots into the car at point-blank range while the teen was eating.

As the car drove away, the officer fired five more rounds. Cantu was hit multiple times. There also was a passenger in the car with him, which is why Brennand has been charged with two counts of aggraated assault. 

"There's nothing that I can say that could defend what he did, his actions that night," said McManus. "It took us a couple of days to terminate Brennand. He was gone pretty quickly."

The charges could rise if the 17-year-old victim doesn't survive, and McManus did say the investigation will remain ongoing for now. 

Family members, meanwhile, joined rally outside SAPD Headquarters Tuesday evening calling for disciplinary action. Some attendees could be seen carrying signs reading "Jail killer cops" and "Charge James Brennand now."

'The video was horrific'

SAPD's top cop said officers didn't find any guns on Cantu or in the car he was driving. He added that neither Cantu nor the car he was driving had anything to do with the disturbance call Brennand was responding to on Sunday night.

RELATED STORY: 'Hold everyone accountable': Bexar County DA  rejects charges against Erik Cantu

McManus says the incident was in clear violation of policy.

"The video was horrific,” he said. “There's no question in anybody's mind looking at that video that the shooting is not justified. And it took us a couple days to terminate Brennand, but he was gone pretty quickly."

Brennand was a probationary officer with seven months experience on the force, and he has since been fired. 

RELATED STORY: SAPD officer fired after shooting teenager in fast-food restaurant parking lot

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