Armando Garcia-Muro, 17, has been shot and killed by a stray bullet, fired by local police as they attempted to deal with a charging pit bull, according to the Guardian.
Police were in the California neighborhood investigating a noise complaint when, according to authorities, a dog escaped from its restraints and charged officers, biting one of them. Shots were fired, to put the dog down. Garcia-Muro allegedly rushed in to protect the local canine and was hit in the chest. He later died in the hospital. An officer was also struck by a stray bullet, in the leg, but survived.
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) June 22, 2017
Police took to Facebook to confirm that the teenager was likely killed by a bullet after it ricocheted off the ground, noting that “the juvenile may have been struck by one of the skip rounds.”
“It is what we’re calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident,” LASD Capt. Chris Bergner said at a Thursday morning news conference.
The teenager’s family confirmed that he loved animals and was likely trying to protect the errant pit bull.
“My nephew was trying to save the dog because the cops started shooting at the dog,” the victim’s aunt, Amber Alcantar, told CBS Los Angeles. “He put his life on the line for an animal that wasn’t even his.”
Tennia Barron, a close friend of the family, spoke to the Guardian and suggested there may be darker motives at play, claiming the shooting was “no accident.”
“They need to be held responsible,” she said. “How does a bullet ricochet off the ground and hit you in the torso?”
“They really need to investigate this.”
The dog’s owner, who lives at the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, spoke to The Los Angeles Times and doubted the officer’s account of the pit bull’s actions, saying “That’s not my dog. That’s not his personality.”
The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has determined that officers are justified when firing at dogs that pose an immediate threat. The pit bull is set to be euthanized.
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