Investigators say it appears the 63-year-old woman, later identified as Pamela Marie Devitt of Littlerock by the coroner's office, was attacked by a pack of pit bulls while she was out walking on 116th Street East around 9:30 a.m.
Lt. John Corona of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said someone driving by saw a group of four to five dogs attacking Devitt on the ground.
"So she stops, honks at the dogs ... trying to scare them away," Corona said. "They turned and attacked her car, trying to bite the tires."
The driver called 911, and when a sheriff's deputy arrived, one dog was at the scene still attacking Devitt on the ground. When the dog saw the deputy, he charged at the deputy, Corona said, so the deputy opened fire.
"The dog was about 30 feet away when he shot, and the dog turned and ran back into the desert," Corona said.
Detectives say Devitt suffered numerous extensive wounds. She died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital.
"It's really scary. I don't know what to think," said Diane Huffman of Littlerock. "I really think I'm going to be getting a gun to protect myself."
Investigators do not know if the animals are stray dogs or have owners. Two men and two women were detained at a house by deputies Thursday night, and dogs were seen on the property.
Shortly before 7 p.m., L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich tweeted "the dogs have been captured," citing Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control. Earlier in the day, Antonovich offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to the capture of the dogs.
Palmdale Sheriff's detectives received information and obtained a search warrant for a residence on the 37700 block of 115th Street in Littlerock near the site of the attack. Eight dogs were seized from the property, including six pit bulls and two mixed breeds.
The dogs are in custody of Los Angeles County Animal Care and Control. It is not clear if the dogs were involved in the mauling. Sheriffs officials say they will likely have to conduct DNA tests to determine if any or all the dogs confiscated were involved in the attack.
While investigating pit bulls at the house, deputies discovered a marijuana-growing operation. They arrested a 29-year-old for cultivation of marijuana. That person could face additional charges if the dogs that were seized are linked to the deadly attack.