A 17-year-old boy was fatally struck by a ricocheting bullet as deputies shot and killed a dog that had attacked one of the deputies Thursday morning in Palmdale, according to authorities.
The incident occurred about 3:47 a.m. near an apartment complex in the 38500 block of 10th Street East, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said in a statement.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies soon responded to reports of "loud music" from the Palmdale, California, apartment complex at around 3:40 a.m. When deputies arrived, an aggressive pit bull charged from the darkness and bit one of them in the knee.
Armando Garcia was hanging out at a friend's apartment listening to music early Thursday morning when the dog started barking.
Armando came out from behind the apartment and pulled the dog back around a corner to the rear of the building, the sheriff's department said.
The dog was restrained by a person at the scene, but as deputies awaited paramedics, the animal got loose again and charged at the deputies, authorities said. At that point, two deputies shot at the pit bull from a 5- to 7-foot distance, and the dog went back to the rear of the apartment complex and into the carport area.
Deputies followed the dog in an attempt to corral the animal and prevent any other attacks.When they got to the carport area, deputies were shocked to find the teen on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest.
Deputies provided medical aid before paramedics arrived and took him to Antelope Valley Hospital, where he died.
Garcia-Muro’s aunt, Amber Alcantar, said deputies told her the teen was shot while trying to stop the dog from attacking deputies a second time. She said she heard a knock on her door in the early morning. It was Garcia-Muro’s friend, who was frantically looking for the boy’s mother.
The youngster was holding a pair of bloodied shoes. They were Garcia-Muro’s, Alcantar said.
“Obviously something was wrong,” she said. She and Garcia-Muro’s mother went to two hospitals in search of him, but couldn’t find him and eventually returned home.
The pit bull's owner said her dog was just excited and did not mean any harm. She said her pet was "a big dog with a baby's mind."
LASD officials said deputies had responded to the area at least four times for loud music and gang activity in the past two months.
Sheriff's officials said based on the pit bull's condition, it will be euthanized.
The 17-year-old, who had a younger sister and two brothers, had recently moved back home and was seeking a job to help support them and his mother, who was raising the children on her own.
"She can't talk because all she can do is cry," Genevie said. "This didn't have to be the way he had to leave."