A 14-year-old boy was killed by a stray shot apparently fired by police at escaping criminals in Escobedo, a city in northern Mexico, state officials said.

Miguel Angel Alfaro Trejo was playing soccer with some friends around midnight Tuesday when he was hit by gunfire, Nuevo Leon state Security Council spokesman Jorge Domene said.

The shooting in Escobedo, a city in the Monterrey metropolitan area, is under investigation, the state security official said.

Police were chasing some suspects who were fleeing in a taxi and fired several shots at them in the Bosques de Escobedo neighborhood, killing the teenager, eyewitnesses said.

The teenagers scattered when they heard the shots from the patrol car and Alfaro Trejo was hit by a stray bullet in front of his house.

"If this was the result of crossfire, we'll have to see who was responsible," Domene, spokesman for a body that brings together state police, prosecutors and representatives of the federal forces deployed in the Monterrey metro area, said.

The Federal Police commander in Nuevo Leon told investigators that he has no reports of his officers being involved in the shootout, Domene said.

State police and Escobedo municipal police department officers are also being questioned about the incident, the state security official said.

Investigators are looking at the caliber and trajectory of the bullet that killed Alfaro Trejo to determine who fired the shot, Domene said.

"Nothing that may come out (in the investigation) is going to be hidden," the state security official said.

Monterrey, Mexico's most important industrial city, and its suburbs have been battered by a wave of drug-related violence since March 2010, when three rival cartels reportedly went to war with Los Zetas.

Los Zetas has been battling an alliance of the Gulf, Sinaloa and La Familia drug cartels, known as the Nueva Federacion, for control of the Monterrey metropolitan area and smuggling routes into the United States.

Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, known as "El Lazca," deserted from the Mexican army in 1999 and formed Los Zetas with three other soldiers, all members of an elite special operations unit, becoming the armed wing of the Gulf drug cartel.

After several years on the payroll of the Gulf cartel, Los Zetas, considered Mexico's most violent criminal organization, went into the drug business on their own account and now control several lucrative territories.

A total of 267 murders were registered in the industrial city in 2009, with the figure rising to 828 in 2010 and more than 960, including about 20 innocent people, so far this year, official figures show.