PALMDALE, Calif. -- Deputies say a 17-year-old boy was shot and killed early Thursday morning when the officers were trying to stop a dog from attacking them.
According to the Los Angeles Times, officers had been called to the report of a loud party around 3:40 a.m. As deputies approached the home a pit bull charged at them and bit one of them in the left knee, authorities said.
The teenager then tied up the dog. Deputies then called for a sergeant to check on the injured deputy.
At some point the dog broke free and charged again at deputies, the Times reported. That's when deputies opened fire -- shooting six to eight rounds.
The 60-pound dog was about five to seven feet away from deputies when they fired, officials said.
KTLA reports the shooting caused the animal to retreat. As deputies regrouped, they came across the teenager who was down with a gunshot wound to the upper torso.
The boy was rushed to the hospital where he later died.
Capt. Christopher Bergner said the deputies did not see that the teen had emerged from behind the building, according to the preliminary investigation.
"It is what we're calling an extremely, extremely unfortunate incident at this time," he said.
According to an internal memo obtained by the Times, the two deputies shot at the pit bull “while the dog owner simultaneously tried to jump onto the dog to stop it from attacking deputy personnel.”
The deputy who had been bitten was also struck by a bullet fragment. He was taken to the hospital.
The dog was injured but survived, the newspaper reported.
Bergner said both the teen and the deputy may have been hit by a"skip" round that ricocheted off the ground.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department police, officers are allowed to shoot at animals if they "reasonably believe" they are in imminent danger of being seriously injured or killed.
Multiple agencies are investigating the deadly shooting, including the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner, the sheriff's Homicide Bureau and Internal Affair Bureau.