Police Abuse

L.A. Sheriff's Deputies Shoot Fleeing Hostage, Charge Hostage Taker With Murder

|

shot by cops
Facebook

Deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department (LASD) were responding to a report of "assault with a deadly weapon, man with a knife" at an apartment complex in West Hollywood on Monday night when they shot at two hostages attempting to flee, killing one of them. By the department's own account:

As deputies continued attempts to contact the people in the apartment, the apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out. He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, Victim [John] Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies. Winkler was similar to the description of the suspect and was wearing a black shirt. Believing Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team; three deputies fired their duty weapons at him. Victim Winkler was struck by the gunfire and fell to the floor, and the male victim also collapsed; struck once by the gunfire. 

The deputies then entered the apartment, where they found the suspect assaulting a third victim. According to the police statement, the "deputies were able to use physical force to subdue the suspect and end the assault."

Police insisted Winkler fit the description given for the suspect. The suspect, Alexander McDonald, a roommate of one of the victims, was charged with two counts of attempted murder, one count of torture, and one count of murder for the death of Winkler.

The sheriff's department said in a statement that an "Officer-Involved Shooting" is always followed by "multiple independent investigations" when it results in "a wounding." Among the agencies investigating the incident are the Los Angeles district attorney, the county coroner, and multiple LASD bureaus.

NEXT: Soda Warning Labels Could Soon Be a Thing in California

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. It seems to be an established fact that anyone who runs towards the police is going to get shot. I didn’t know that they slapped murder charges against the person the victim was running from. That’s messed up.

    1. It probably varies by state, but in general if you are committing a violent felony and it gets somebody killed in any way – you will be charged with some sort of murder.

      1. You forgot the disclaimer that says “unless you are a police officer.”

      2. The felony murder rule is a tough one to apply. Kill someone fleeing a bank robbery? Sure.

        But, I’m not sure it applies when some third party kills someone intentionally, like, by shooting them.

        As always, replace the cop with a normal human, and see how it looks. If I intervene in an assault by shooting at the perp (legal defense of others), and I wind up killing some bystander, for example, I’m not sure the perp is going to take the fall for me.

        1. It gets worse.

          There was a case a year or so ago where a guy was fleeing some cops in a car, I think in New Jersey.

          Several miles away, a cop racing to join the pursuit lost control of his squad car and killed someone.

          They charged the fugitive with felony murder. And as the law was written, it was kosher.

      3. Yes. While this was doubtless a tragedy, I can’t really blame the police here, and the hostage taker should be prosecuted for murder. It was the hostage taker, not the police, that set the stage for this misunderstanding to occur.

        In general I’m fine with violent felons being held responsible for the consequences of their clearly criminal actions. What I’m not fine with is anything and everything being declared a felony, and non-violent actions being declared violent.

    2. It’s felony-murder. If you commit a felony and it has a predictable risk of death to victims or bystanders, then you can be prosecuted for murdering people who die during your felony.

      For example, you hold up a liquor store and somebody dies of a heart attack, which is deemed a predictable risk, therefore you murdered that heart attack victim.

      1. But it’s obvious what a slippery slope this could be taken to its logical extreme. If someone gets accused of a minor felony that I committed, and they kill themselves before it gets sorted out, am I on the hook for murder? After all if I commit a crime, the police thinking someone else did it is foreseeable. And someone committing suicide rather than face prison is also foreseeable.

        If my crime was something absurdly trivial like possession, would that seem fair?

  2. RESISTANCE IS FATAL

  3. Is there a prize if one correctly guesses the outcome of every single one of those multiple “investigations”?

    1. No, but you, as a civilian, get the satisfaction of knowing that all of these officers will go home to their families safely every night.

  4. All the officers made it home safely though, right???

  5. Well, this makes hostage negotiations easier. Police just bust in, kill everyone in sight, and then charge the hostage taker for murder with each person, if he survives the barrage of gunfire.

  6. I’m usually on board for a cop bashing, but that’s a tough call. A guy chasing a bleeding man who has been kidnapped…

    1. “Stop.”

    2. Not really – my call would be to have the half dozen cops on scene chase the motherfucker down and jump on him.

      Kinda like they did to the actual assailant.

      If the cops had jumped on the guy, beat him up, broke a couple of ribs – that I could excuse. Shitty, but if I was in the dead guy’s place, I could understand how that mistake was made.

      1. Or shoot his fucking leg or something. If the guy is so close that you’re only option is to resort to discharging your pistol, hitting a leg shouldn’t be too hard.

        1. Or shoot his fucking leg or something.

          Movie bullshit. There is no safe place to shoot someone.

          The problem once again comes back to this: cops no longer even pretend that they are there to catch the bullet, to risk themselves for the safety of the community.

          They just shoot everything in sight at the first sign of trouble.

    3. They shot the bleeding man as well.

      1. No excuse for that except perhaps terrible marksmanship – which is believable for cops.

  7. Believing Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team

    All you need to know.

    OFFICER SAFETY

    I’m surprised they didn’t kill both fleeing victims.

    1. Victim Winkler was struck by the gunfire and fell to the floor, and the male victim also collapsed; struck once by the gunfire

      They did manage to shoot them both. And I’m quite sure that they would have kept shooting the guy with the stab wound had he not collapsed.

      1. This is why that Pittsburgh mass stabbing was so effective. Victims of stabbings know that if you call the police, you’ll just get shot. Better to take your chances on a knife wound than a gunshot.

  8. The deputies then entered the apartment, where they found the suspect assaulting a third victim. According to the police statement, the “deputies were able to use physical force to subdue the suspect and end the assault.”

    So you can end an actual assault without killing someone, but you kill someone who is simply running. I wish I could say I was surprised, but I have read too many of these stories.

  9. So let me see if I have this straight.

    The cops *had* to shoot the guy running out of the apartment but were able to physically restrain (and take alive and relatively uninjured) the actual assailant?

  10. good shoot. the officers have a right to their jobs no matter how many innocents they shoot.

  11. in general if you are committing a violent felony and it gets somebody killed in any way

    If some cop kills himself en route due to incompetence behind the wheel, it’s Death Row.

    1. More like Death ROE with a decent rate. Or something. I haven’t quite worked this one out yet. The point being that there is one less thug on the street.

  12. If the department account is accurate then the confusion the understandable. But non-lethal force like a stun gun or rubber bullets should have been used.

    Instead they went and shot not only the alleged perpetrator but also the one they thought was a victim being chased. What the hell?

    1. Heh, they shot *both* of the running victims.

      1. You know, in situations like this I don’t even know why you’d have your guns out in the first place.

        You don’t *know* what’s going on – there’s no threat immediately evident. If you’ve got time to plan an entry, you’ve got time to get out the beanbag rounds.

        Again, its shitty, but if one of the victims had taken a bean-bag round and died from it – that’s almost acceptable considering the normal way this shit is handled.

        It just boggles my mind that in a situation like this – where you know there are victims and have no idea who or where the assailant is – that you’d resort to shoot first and fuck the questions rather than trying to physically restrain someone who is not posing an obvious threat.

        And running towards you (alone) is a real threat only to mall-ninjas – it should be expected that the victims will do this, you’re there to *save* them after all.

        Fucking heroes should do an hero.

        1. One of these days, they’ll be mowing down the kids fleeing from a school where a gunman or knife wielder is reported to be.

          1. Then in that case it will be the police who are the victims for being forced to shoot the children. They’ll all get medals and the gunman will get all the blame.

            1. Just like the guy that drunkenly throttles his wife every night. *crack* “See?” *wham* “SEE?!” *thud* “See what you make me do??!!!”

            2. No, the gunman will get a medal too for helping the police.

              I’ve written here that I’d shoot (to kill) the hostages 1st. But even I would do it only while they were still hostages, not after they got away.

        2. I think we should start a reform movement that requires police officers to abide by at least the same ROE for deadly force that US soldiers in actual war zones do. Maybe that would get people’s attention.

        3. you’re there to *save* them after all.

          Is that like in the same way that Jesus saves when you die?

          1. Jesus saves *before* you die. After you die its too late, burn in hell you filthy sinner for knowledge defies faith.

            1. Denies.

        4. Apparently in Albaquerque, beanbags are used to check if someone’s dead. I also heard that they’re pretty good for killing ninety-five-year-old men if you’re not up to grappling with them.

      2. Heh, they shot *both* of the running victims.

        No Child Left Behind No Witness Left Alive.

        See? It’s Bush’s fault.

  13. Is this how LA law enforcement training goes?

    CIVILIAN! CIVILIAN!

    BLAMBLAMBLAM

  14. “He was coming right at me!”

    1. This is a nice comment.

      PixieDust778 Edmund Edmonds ? 38 minutes ago
      I’m not trying to troll. White people are a blight. They exterminated the native Americans, enslaved black people,press Hispanics. They control the media, the majority of news casters are white, the majority of managers are white, the majority of academics are white, an the list goes on. Genocide WILL begin to make reparations for what their people have done. Whites aren’t going to kill themselves, so someone needs to do it. I understand this position may be taken as extreme, but I truly think it’s the only way to make up for a vast history of oppression. To end racism, they need to understand what they have done, and and continue to do, to minorities.

      1. “White people are evil, genocidal, and in control of everything. We should start a race war with them.”

        The King of Derps.

        1. How does someone that mentally deficient remember to breathe?

          1. Breathing was invented by whites to keep people of color down.

    2. It’s way too long to post here, but if you find the comment from Eva about growing up in the Soviet Union, it’s worth the read.

    3. That doesn’t sound nice, does it? Makes you squirm in your chair a bit and maybe feel a little uncomfortable, right?

      Actually no. I’m pretty comfortable with how I am.

      But here’s the thing ? I’m not here to make you feel comfortable, that’s not my job. I’m here to erase the invisibility of the privileges you have that continue to help maintain white supremacy.

      Well, actually that’s not your job either.

      4. White Privilege is living in a world where you are taught that people with your skin tone hold the standard for beauty.

      Hah! last time I checked, only a tiny percentage of redhead and brunette hotties could get away with rocking the with skin. The rest of us are expected to have a good bit of tan to our complexion.

      13. White Privilege is being able to be articulate and well-spoken without people being surprised.

      Oh and this? Yeah this stopped being a thing decades ago.

      17. White Privilege is not having your people and their culture appropriated, romanticized or eroticized for the gain and pleasure of other white people.

      That’s . . . that’s amazingly racist. So you’re saying this is ok if *other* than white people do it?

      1. 18. White Privilege is being able to ignore the consequences of race.

        I’m not even completely certain what this means. Its almost gibberish. BUT – white people don’t get to ignore race, no matter how much any particular one of us might want to. People like you bring it up *constantly*. Every fucking interaction is judged by you to see if there’s some hidden slight intended. Nothing is innocent, its *all* about race and you rub it in our faces every chance you get.

        And finally Stacy Sto. Domingo – as a Filipina I’m pretty sure you have no fucking idea that ‘white people’ aren’t one monolithic race/culture. That the way the New Zealanders treat Filipinos is a world of fucking difference from they way we do in the US.

        You dear, suffer from ‘BSP Privilege’. That’s the privilege that Brown Skinned People have to sling racial slurs as part of a systematic dehumanization of entire groups of people who are and have historically been hated just for being alive.

        Plus you stupid bitch – don’t go on being offended on behalf of shit white americans did to blacks 150 years ago when you are, in no way, involved or affected by the fallout from those events.

        You are a fucking 20 year old Filipina who grew up in New Zealand and lives in god-damned *Germany* – what the fuck do *you* know about slavery.

  15. They shot the bleeding man as well.

    It could have been ketchup. There was this movie one time where the psychokiller disguised himself as one of the victims, and escaped. You cannot be too careful, especially where OFFICER SAFETY is concerned.

  16. Not sure why the LA sheriff dept. still exists. This is the fifth or sixth story if their incompetence and general disrespect for te lives of citizens just this year. They should be disbanded along with the Albuquerque PD.

  17. Not sure why the LA sheriff dept. still exists. This is the fifth or sixth story if their incompetence and general disrespect for te lives of citizens just this year. They should be disbanded along with the Albuquerque PD.

  18. Not sure why the LA sheriff dept. still exists. This is the fifth or sixth story if their incompetence and general disrespect for te lives of citizens just this year. They should be disbanded along with the Albuquerque PD.

    1. What? I didn’t catch that.

  19. I think we should start a reform movement that requires police officers to abide by at least the same ROE for deadly force that US soldiers in actual war zones do. Maybe that would get people’s attention.

    We could always try to make them perxsonally responsible for the consequences of their fuck-ups.

    Naah, that’s crazy.

  20. RESISTANCE FLEEING IS FATAL

    That’s better.

  21. The guy they shot and killed was a production assistant for Tosh.0.

  22. I can’t wrap my head around why a gang of guys, trained in hand to hand combat, would feel so threatened by an unarmed guy running at them that their first thought is to start shooting.

    Ofcourse, on TV, we always see brave cops using their gun as a last resort.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.