California officers were placed in a terrible and tragic position Thursday after a mad dog attacked them twice in a matter of minutes. Defending themselves against further assault, officers were forced to start firing. A stray bullet ricocheted off the ground and plunged into a teenage boy’s chest, killing him almost instantly.

According to the sheriff’s department, the incident occurred inside a residential neighborhood at approximately 3:47 a.m. Officers were responding to a noise complaint when a 65-pound pit bull suddenly charged forward and attacked one of the deputies.

The other officers, with the help of 17-year-old Armando Garcia, wrestled the dog to the ground and restrained it. What happened next is a tragedy.

Garcia grabbed the dog and dragged it back down the driveway toward the rear of the house. It’s not exactly clear what occurred, but the next thing deputies saw was the vicious, slobbering dog charging full-speed back down the driveway with its bloodshot eyes locked onto the officers. Fearing for their lives, they opened fire on the deranged animal.

Witnesses say that Garcia emerged from behind the house, approximately 35 feet or so from where the dog and the officers were, at exactly the same time that the officers fired. One of the bullets bounced off the ground and hit Garcia square in the chest.

“It appears that as we are investigating this and looking at the evidence, that within that first six to eight feet, of where the shooting occurred with the dog, there are skip rounds in the apron of the driveway,” LASD Capt. Chris Bergner said during a Thursday morning news conference.

“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.”

Nobody did anything wrong. Officers didn’t fire upon the dog until it was absolutely necessary and the boy didn’t make a mistake when he attempted to help control the dog. Garcia died because of a confluence of unfortunate events. It was a tragedy that couldn’t have been avoided.

Garcia was taken to a hospital with gunshot wounds, where he was pronounced dead.

Pit bulls are a controversial breed. They were bred to be fighters, killers. Pit bulls can be trained to be lethal machines, and too often their owners take advantage of that.

The breed was born from a love of bull-baiting. “Pinning the bull” refers to when a specialty trained dog is used to attack a large bull. The object of the “sport” was for the dog to latch on the the bulls face, and subdue the enraged animal. Being significantly larger, bulls would routinely throw the dogs into the air. Pit bulls were bred for their ability to latch on to something like an iron vice, and never let go. The dog would be trained to lock onto the bull’s snout and stay there at all costs. Some believed that the torture softened the bull’s flesh and made it taste more tender and delicious.

The dogs, however, are still dogs. They aren’t monsters. A pit bull that’s showered with love and affection won’t display the same behavioral traits as one who isn’t.

“The American Pit Bull Terrier—a breed often portrayed as highly aggressive—consistently ranked as one of the least aggressive dogs, with the exception being toward new dogs, where it was still below Miniature Schnauzers. This could be because pit bull owners are conscious of the bias against the breed when self-reporting, but it does agree with the American Temperamental Test Society which also has found that American Pit Bull Terriers were among the most tolerant breeds,” dog expert Brian Hare wrote for the Atlantic.