While trying to stop what they called a “charging dog,” Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies attempting to shoot a dog struck and killed a teenaged boy.
Deputies responding to noise complaints around 3:45am on Thursday morning arrived at the driveway of a Palmdale, California apartment complex where they say a 60-65 pound male pit bull charged them, biting one of the officers on the knee.
At that time, 17-year old Armando Garcia-Muro, a young man entering his senior year of high school this fall, tried to restrain the dog, but he somehow broke loose.
Police said the dog tried charging a second time when two officers both fired a total of 6 to 8 rounds at the animal.
The dog was struck and retreated to a carport. When police entered the carport to try to capture the injured dog, they discovered Garcia-Muro wounded on the ground.
He was taken to the Antelope Valley Hospital where he died as a result of either a gunshot, fragments, or a “skip” round that first hit the ground and ricocheted, striking the teen.
Police initially said the boy was approximately 40 feet away at the time of the shooting, but conflicting reports say the boy was in the process of grabbing the dog when police fired. And, other reports say police didn’t even see him in the dark apartment complex.
A deputy at the scene was also struck by a “skip” round in the right knee. He was treated for injuries and released from the hospital.
Neighbors have their doubts about the accuracy of police claims.
“The dog was not aggressive,” said one resident. “I watched the dog grow up, that’s a puppy. It grew up around my grandkids. He’s not aggressive at all, so I’m not understanding why they’re saying he was aggressive and bit an officer.”
Multiple agencies were investigating the fatal shooting, including the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Internal Affair Bureau.
“It is what we’re calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident at this time,” sheriff’s Capt. Christopher Bergner said.