Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies opened fire on a biting dog after responding to a call of a teen house party early Thursday morning — but a bullet ricocheted and killed a 17-year-old boy, who was trying to save the dog from gunfire.
Reports say the sheriff’s department received calls about the party and arrived on scene at an apartment complex around 3:47 a.m., local time; but a pit bull sprinted from inside the residence — biting one of the responding deputies on the leg.
Officers restrained the animal — but it broke from their grips.
Armando Garcia, in the meantime, attempted to bring the dog under control, when police unleashed a hail of bullets against the offending animal — one round allegedly grazed the pavement and ricocheted upward — killing the teenager who only wanted to protect the animal.
“We believe that when the individual came out from behind the building, which was approximately 40 feet away from where the shooting occurred, he may have been struck by one of the skip rounds. And it is what we’re calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident,” asserted Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Captain Chris Bergner in a press conference Thursday.
Unfortunate in that the teen had been trying to do what the deputies apparently couldn’t — get the dog under control. And, after being rushed to the hospital, Garcia lost his life for the effort.
“My nephew was trying to save the dog because the cops started shooting at the dog,” Amber Alcantar, Garcia’s aunt, told CBS Los Angeles. “He put his life on the line for an animal that wasn’t even his.”
ABC 7 reports:
“Deputies at the scene said they initially responded to a report of loud music at a party. As they were conducting an investigation, a 60 to 65 pound pit bull ‘aggressively charged’ at deputies and bit one of them on his left knee. The deputy was not seriously injured.”
Officers then restrained the animal, but it broke loose — authorities say it charged at the deputies — two of whom then fired at the animal from a distance of just five seven feet. According to reports, the pit bull ran to a carport area behind the apartment complex, with deputies in pursuit — determined to hold the animal in a confined space to prevent any other attacks on bystanders.
“When they got to the carport area, deputies found the teen on the ground suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest,” ABC 7 notes.
Bergner also said the deputy relatively uninjured by the initial dog bite to the left knee was also treated for a gunshot wound from a ricocheting bullet to the right knee.
“This is an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident,” Bergner continued. “The bullet hit the apron of the driveway, traveled about 30 to 40 feet back, and potentially hit this individual who was coming around the corner.”
Of course, the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department has not made clear why spraying a dog with enough rounds to incidentally kill a teenager and wound an officer would have been a wise choice in an apartment complex, where — even given the pre-dawn hour of their arrival — shooting rather indiscriminately at an animal would seem feckless, at best.
Ill-fated, in the case of Armando Garcia — who lost his life to gunfire for trying to protect an animal from the cops.
The pit bull will be euthanized.
Neighbors told the media pit bulls are particularly common in the area, but the unnamed owner of the dog in question described the animal as “a big dog with a baby’s mind” — and it would never have meant any harm.
“Mando is a good kid,” lamented Garcia’s mother, Roberta Alcantar, of the teen who tried to save an animal from officer gunfire. “He did not deserve to die the way he died. I’m going to get to the bottom of it and it’s going to get handled.”
Armando Garcia will join a shamefully lengthy list of individuals who obviously know and love animals better than police — who should be trained to de-escalate animal situations, no matter the circumstances, given they encounter dogs and cats routinely — but who have had their lives cut short by frightened cops.
It seems the modus operandi for police in the U.S. is to shoot first, say something about being scared for life and limb, and don’t bother asking questions later.
And now another human being had his life untimely snuffed — unironically — for trying to protect a beloved dog, that wasn’t even his, from the police.
This is what it’s like to be an animal lover in a police state.
This article originally appeared on thefreethoughtproject.com.