LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has determined that the fatal officer-involved shooting of a 17-year-old boy in Palmdale last year “was accidental and that there is no criminal liability,” according to a report posted Monday on the LADA website [view it here].
Armando Garcia-Muro died June 22, 2017 after he was shot by a ricocheting bullet when deputies fired on a charging pit bull that had bitten one deputy.
The officers involved in the shooting — Sergeant James Dillard and Deputy Victor Ekanem — were called out to an apartment complex in the 38500 block of 10th Street East in Palmdale by someone complaining of loud music. As they approached a carport area where Armando and others were sitting, the 73-pound pit bull bit a deputy as he reached down to pet the dog, according to their statements.
A resident sitting outside chained the dog up, but while deputies called for a supervisor and were walking back to take photos of the dog, the animal broke loose and charged at a deputy. The two officers fired on the dog.
Deputy Medical Examiner Lawrence Nguyen concluded that one of the bullets bounced off a hard surface and hit Armando, who was behind the pit bull.
Ballistics analysis found that five of the six shots fired were at the ground and the sixth was in an area away from where Armando was struck.
“The multitude of bullet fragments and the shrapnel wounds to (other deputies) are also consistent with rounds striking something hard in the vicinity of the dog attack,” the report concluded.
Armando’s aunt told CBS Los Angeles shortly after the shooting that her nephew was trying to save the dog.
“Put his life on the line for an animal that wasn’t even his,” the aunt said.
The teen’s mother, Roberta Alcantar, has filed a wrongful death suit, in part alleging that deputies delayed medical aid for her son while discussing how to explain the shooting.
Deputies told investigators they rendered first aid and called for paramedics. [Read the LADA report on the shooting here.]
Previous related stories: