Family and attorney for Erik Cantu speak for first time

This is the first time the teen’s parents have spoken publicly following the shooting earlier this month.

SAN ANTONIO — More than three weeks after Erik Cantu was shot by a now-former San Antonio Police officer, his family spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday morning.

Ben Crump, lead attorney for Erik and his family, opened a news conference on the steps of the Bexar County Courthouse by talking about Cantu’s condition.

“He is continuing to fight for his life on life support… He still has a hole in his chest right before his heart,” Crump said. “The fact that Erik is here is about a miracle every day.”

“This is about vigilance. This is about everyday prayer, first and foremost for Erik’s life.”

Crump said that the family will seek justice for their son.

“You cannot justify this unjustifiable, unconstitutional, excessive use of force on this 17-year-old child who was doing everything right,” Crump said. “He graduated high school early. He had aspirations to be a businessman.”

Erik’s father, Erik Cantu Sr., spoke about his son’s injuries.

“He is getting slightly better. His wounds are healing,” he said. “But Erik’s not our Erik because even though he’s there, now he’s waking up from these sedatives, a cocktail of different sedatives just to keep him alive and comfortable.” 

“He’s such a fighter. He’s so strong, and he’s doing this,” said his mother, Victoria Casarez.

“It’s just been a horrific rollercoaster,” she said. “Our main focus has been Erik’s health… We just want to be there by his side every day. I just want everybody to keep praying for Erik. We need you, he needs you.”

Crump had a warning for other families about what he called “profiling (of) this young Hispanic teenager.”

“If we don’t get justice for Erik Cantu, honest to God, it can happen to you. We have to get justice in this matter,” he said. 

Officer James Brennand was responding to an unrelated call on October 2 near the McDonald’s at Blanco Road and West Avenue when he saw Cantu’s car and ordered the teen out; he was eating a burger inside.

At the time, Brennand said he believed the car was stolen. 

The car backed away, and the officer opened fire.

Since the shooting, Brennand has been fired and criminally charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon by a public servant. He has since posted bond.

Casarez hopes the charges against Brennand are upgraded to two counts of attempted murder. 

“I’d like to see former officer Brennand behind bars right now. It’s not safe with him out there,” she said. 

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