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Los Angeles County deputies shoot unarmed man

TV Production Assistant Mistakenly Shot and Killed by Police


LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies mistakenly shot to death a hostage who was fleeing from a knife-wielding attacker at a West Hollywood apartment, authorities announced Thursday.

John Winkler, 30, an aspiring television producer, died at a hospital following Monday night's confrontation.

"Taking the life of an innocent person is a police officer's greatest nightmare," Interim Sheriff John Scott said at a news conference.

The entire department mourned Winkler's death, he added.

Winkler was "hanging out" with some friends who lived in the apartment below him on Palm Avenue when a man who also lived in that apartment took them hostage at knifepoint, authorities said.

Alexander McDonald climbed over a balcony into his own home with a 10-inch butcher knife, authorities said.

He was "in an incoherent state of mind, seemed very paranoid, which was uncharacteristic," sheriff's homicide Lt. David Coleman said. He took his roommate, Winkler and another man hostage, then flew into a rage and began stabbing and fighting with them, authorities said.

Scott said deputies received a panicky 911 call that someone was threatening residents with a knife and went to the apartment, where they were told the attacker was a thin man in a black shirt.

Deputies announced themselves and pounded on the door and at that moment one of the stabbing victims took the opportunity to escape, Coleman said.

"The door suddenly opened and a man with blood spurting form his neck entered the doorway." Scott said.

Winkler also ran out, behind but nearly on top of the other man, authorities said.

Deputies, noting his thin build and black shirt, mistook Winkler for the suspect and thought he was continuing to attack the other man, Coleman said.

Three deputies fired four shots. Winkler was hit once and mortally wounded. The other man was hit in the leg and was hospitalized in stable condition, authorities said.

Deputies burst into the apartment and allegedly saw McDonald choking a man on the floor. That man was treated for stab wounds and other injuries and released, according to a Sheriff's Department statement.

McDonald, 27, was treated for minor injuries. County prosecutors have charged him with torture, murder and two counts of attempted murder. He remained jailed Thursday.

"We don't know what caused his rage or what caused his outburst," or whether drugs were involved, Coleman said.

Winkler had moved to West Hollywood from Washington state six months ago to work in the entertainment industry, his friend, Devin Richardson, told the Los Angeles Times.

The deputies, all department veterans, were removed from patrol after the shooting but were expected to return to full duty next week, sheriff's officials said.

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waltersaucier April 11 2014 at 10:51 AM

one hostage killed one wounded i think i'll take my chances with my own con handgun.

Flag Reply +5 rate up
leearlenew April 11 2014 at 10:00 AM

Are you getting the impression that the Police are getting as much a threat to society as the criminals?

I've had this feeling for 60 years.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
ihuber1 April 11 2014 at 12:21 AM

Their old slogan:
To Protect and t Serve
Their new slogan:
Shot first ask questions later

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
sbjla ihuber1 April 11 2014 at 12:44 AM

"To protect and to serve" is the motto of the LAPD.... they were not involved in this incident.

"A tradition of service" is the LA Sheriff's Motto.....

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Diamond April 11 2014 at 9:58 AM

they say they want to charge the guy for murder , he did not murder anyone the cops did but they past the buck on to him so he can take the charge , now is that justice . I can see for the torture and the kidnapping . and confinement and stabbing and assaults , but murder . I don' t see that the cops is the ones that shot Mr. Winkler

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
jlwilt2 Diamond April 11 2014 at 10:08 AM

Apparently you don't know the laws in this country. If a person dies (even if a heart attack) during the commission of a crime, the perpetrator and any accomplices can be charged with murder. It is because of this wacko's actions that the police responded and accidentally shot the wrong man and thus he is ultimately to blame.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
romanstargazer62 April 11 2014 at 9:50 AM

Another interesting point. I used to be a hunter and i could take my 22/250 rifle with a scope and shoot a dear with one shot at 1200 yards. This cop couldn't hit his target in a 50 foot range and he's allowed to carry a gun?

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
wndrbob romanstargazer62 April 11 2014 at 10:07 AM

Sorry a 22-250 will not even be close at 1200 yds bullet drop is 450 inches at that range. And is far from a deer rifle. try again

Flag Reply 0 rate up
fbq181 April 11 2014 at 9:46 AM

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah,yeah, the deputy was given a week off with pay, what do ya want........... justice or something?

Flag Reply +3 rate up
1 reply
jegler9167 fbq181 April 11 2014 at 9:49 AM

they seem quick to shoot don't they? joe

Flag Reply +1 rate up
Cea-Jay April 11 2014 at 9:43 AM

WELCOME TO MY WORLD........................

Flag Reply +1 rate up
jjrgamer April 11 2014 at 9:41 AM

California idiots. This has been happening for years. People today are too complacent and let this continue.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
harrymixon April 11 2014 at 12:38 AM

If this keeps up, the sheriff may have to give each deputy just one bullet and have him carry it in his shirt pocket.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
irishroyal317 April 11 2014 at 12:39 AM

Supposedly police are trained to deal with chaotic situations. What happened here is inexcusable and tragic. Rest in peace, John.

Flag Reply +1 rate up
1 reply
matheneyg irishroyal317 April 11 2014 at 12:53 AM

Rip Wow Cops get paid time off John just gets dead. manslaughter should be in order but that will never happen. like you said John RIP

Flag Reply 0 rate up
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