L.A. Deputies Shoot Hostages Fleeing from Stabbing Assailant, One Dead


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Aspiring television producer John Winkler, 30, was accidentally shot and killed at a West Hollywood apartment Monday following a case of mistaken identity.

Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies received a call Monday detailing a man with a knife holding three residents hostage.

The caller described the attacker as a Caucasian man wearing a black shirt.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they properly announced themselves and banged on the door for someone to come out.

One of the victims came rushing out with a stab wound to the neck, and the second victim, Winkler, also followed.

A statement by deputies recalled exactly what took place:

“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out. He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies."

The deputies immediately took action and shot at both men. Winkler was shot in the chest while the other only sustained a gunshot wound to the leg.

After making their way into the house, deputies noticed another man also fitting the description choking a male victim.

The suspect and resident of the apartment, Alexander McDonald, was arrested by police and charged with one count of murder, one count of torture, and two counts of attempted murder.

The second victim was taken to the hospital and treated for his neck and gunshot wound. The third victim was released after treatment for knife wounds to his legs, chest, and arms.

Apparently, Winkler lived in the apartment above where the attack took place.

McDonald leaped over a balcony into his home and reportedly attacked the men-one being his roommate-with a butcher knife.

According to friend, Devin Richardson, Winkler knew the two hostages and made his way into the apartment after hearing the commotion.

Investigators believe, however, that Winkler was already inside the apartment with the two men.

It's unclear what McDonald's motives were, but police have questioned his mental state and if drugs were involved.

The deputies responsible for Winkler's death were temporarily removed from patrol following the incident.

Interim Sheriff John Scott has stressed how tragic this has been for the Sherriff Department.

"Taking the life of an innocent person is a police officer's greatest nightmare," he said at a news conference, according to USA Today.

The deputies expect to be back on duty sometime next week.

Winkler, who moved from Washington state to Hollywood six months ago, had just started a production assistant job for Comedy Central's Tosh.O. He previously received his degree from the Seattle Film Institute and wanted to eventually become an entertainment TV producer.

Friends and family remember Winkler as being completely excited about his new start to success.

"He was just getting his foot in the door of life,” his 62-year-old aunt, Anne-Marie Van Wart, told the Los Angeles Times. “Just, the light was right around the corner … and [now] he's gone."

Tosh.O sent out this statement Friday:

“Comedy Central and ‘Tosh.0' extend their deepest condolences to the family of John Winkler.  We only had the privilege of working with him for a short while and extend heartfelt sympathy to his family and friends during this tragic time.”

Image via YouTube