Armando Garcia-Muro, 17
Armando Garcia-Muro, a 17-year-old Latino, was killed Thursday, June 22, when he was struck by a deputy’s ricocheting bullet fired at a charging dog in the 38500 block of 10th Street East in Palmdale.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies were called to the apartment complex about 3:40 a.m. regarding a complaint about loud music, said Lt. Rodney Moore. As the deputies walked up the driveway, a 60- to 65-pound pit bull charged them and bit one on the knee, Moore said.
The deputies pulled back to nurse the injured deputy, and a teenage boy ran out to drag the dog behind the apartment complex, Moore said.
The boy, later identified as Armando, tied the dog up, but at some point it apparently broke free and ran toward the deputies again, Moore said.
Two of the five deputies fired at the dog when it was 5 to 7 feet away, Moore said. A bullet struck the dog, which retreated to the back of the apartment complex.
The deputy who was bit was struck by a “skip round,” or ricocheting bullet, in his other leg, Moore said. When the deputies went down the dark driveway to find the dog, they discovered Armando lying on the ground, with a bullet wound to the chest.
Investigators believe Armando was also struck by a ricocheting bullet "in what we’re calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident,” Capt. Christopher Bergner told The Times. “Our initial impression was [the deputies] didn’t even see the individual coming around from the side of the building.”
Armando’s mother, Roberta Alcantar, told The Times that her son was due to start his senior year at R. Rex Parris High School in Palmdale in the fall. The eldest of four siblings, he loved dogs and wanted to go into construction, his mother said.
“He would give his life for anybody,” she said. “He was a very loving person.”
The dog survived the gunshots, but is scheduled to be euthanized. Its owner, who refused to give her name to The Times, said the dog was a 3-year-old blue-nosed pit bull who was usually well mannered.
The woman told The Times she was skeptical of the deputies’ claims that her dog attacked them. “That’s not my dog. That’s not his personality.”
The dog owner said her home is used as a local hangout by some of the neighborhood kids who like to come and listen to music. “They are all my friends,” she said. “They are good kids.”
Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.
Update, November 2018: The Los Angeles County district attorney's office has released information regarding its investigation into the shooting. The office found that Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. James Dillard and Deputy Victor Ekanem acted lawfully when they accidentally shot Armando Garcia-Muro. The report can be found here.