James Brennand, 25, who was fired from the police department on Oct. 4 for violating training and procedures, was charged with two felony counts of aggravated assault by a public servant after turning himself in to police on Tuesday night. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison. A lawyer for him could not immediately be located.
The Oct. 2 shooting of Erik Cantu was caught on Brennand’s body camera, which showed how the officer approached the teen’s car believing it to be a vehicle that had evaded him the previous day.
After the officer suddenly opened the driver’s door and ordered him out, Cantu put the car into reverse and tried to leave. When Brennand was briefly hit by the open door, he withdrew his weapon and shot five times. As the teen drove away, the officer then fired five more times.
Cantu’s 17-year-old female passenger was not injured, but he was taken to a local hospital where he remains in critical condition. (The second charge against Brennand relates to the passenger.)
His attorney Brian Powers told BuzzFeed News on Sunday that Cantu was on life support and “fighting for his life every minute of the day as his body has endured a tremendous amount of trauma.”
There had been no significant improvement in his condition on Tuesday evening, Powers told the Associated Press.
Cantu had initially been charged with evading detention in a vehicle and assault on a peace officer, but the local district attorney withdrew those charges after reviewing footage of the incident.
Brennand had only been a police officer for seven months and was still on probation at the time of the shooting.