DeKalb County Police Chief Cedric Alexander called the shooting Tuesday an "unintentional misfire," The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Wednesday.
"It has been revealed to us that the subject shot by one our DeKalb police officers was not associated with the burglary on Streamside Court," Alexander said. "He was truant from school and began running when he saw police officers in the area."
The 16-year-old student at Southwest DeKalb High School, was shot in the right arm and in stable condition at a local hospital, police said.
Police were called to the Streamside Court home, where they found two alleged burglars in the attic, officials said. The officers believed up to two more possible suspects fled.
Alexander said officers saw one suspect running away from the home at the same time the teen saw police canvassing the area and fled.
The officers assumed the teen "was part of [the suspects] were running away from the crime scene," Alexander said. "But actually, he's running because he's truant."
The officer was placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, the Journal-Constitution said.
The teen's aunt and legal guardian, Geraldine Lloyd, told a local television station that she wasn't angry with police.
"I'm not going to allow myself to get upset," she said. "I told him he knew better, he should have been on the school bus. If he'd been at school this would have never occurred."