A Prince George’s County police officer inadvertently shot himself in the leg while firing at a charging — and possibly rabid — fox in Fort Washington Monday afternoon, authorities said.

The incident began sometime before 5:10 p.m., when a woman in the the 13000 block of Clarion Road called police to report she had been bitten by a possibly rabid fox, said Julie Parker, a Prince George’s County Police spokeswoman. Three officers arrived on the scene and found the animal still on the property, Parker said.

Parker said that the fox charged the officers, who backpedaled to avoid it. One of the officers, she said, began firing his gun. Still walking backward, the officer tripped on a staircase on the property and inadvertently shot himself in the leg, just below the knee, Parker said.

Parker said the officer’s injuries were serious but not life threatening. She said fire department personnel were on the scene treating the woman.

The fox, Parker said, was struck by the officer’s gunfire and killed. Its body will be tested for rabies, Parker said.

Parker declined to immediately identify the officer who fired.