Aspiring TV producer John Winkler (courtesy Facebook)

“John Winkler, 30, was one of three men being held and attacked by a 27-year-old man with a knife at an apartment on Monday night,” reuters.com reports. “He and another man ran out of the apartment to get away, but sheriff’s deputies called to the scene thought he was the assailant and shot him, the Sheriff’s department said. Here’s how it went down, according to the County Sheriffs’ statement . . .

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

Both men ran directly at the deputies, the statement said.

“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.”

The deputies then heard sounds of a fight from the apartment and went inside to find the attacker, identified as Alexander McDonald, assaulting another person.

McDonald, the roommate of one of the victims, was arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder and torture. Winkler was taken to a hospital, where he later died, the sheriff’s department said.

Somehow I thinks there’s more to this story than meets the eye; especially as the Sheriffs Department claims the victim was a threat to the SWAT team, rather than the bad guy. Look for another big police payout (e.g. the Dorner negligent discharges), a slap on the wrist and business as usual.

140 Responses to LA County Sheriffs Shoot and Kill Hostage

      • Suggest that you re-calibrate your judgement. Considering an innocent person, in fact a victim of an active crime was killed by the police it seems to me impossible to classify this as a bad shoot, regardless of the circumstances. It’s time this country start exercising gun control of our police forces.

      • You’re a retard. Guy had no weapons and was a victim. BAD SHOOT. And like the author says, the victims will be compensated and the cops will be back on the streets after a paid vacation.

      • Not even the attacker had a gun, no reason to shoot so quickly. When did cops become pussies? Do we not teach any hand to hand combat or ways to take down people without putting holes in them? BAD SHOOT

  1. Very sad story all the way around.

    But: This happened Monday night – and it finally breaks nationally 3 days later? In a world where I find out about the slightest ping in the Indian Ocean seemingly moments after they hear it, this seems very strange.

    • It broke because today in Los Angeles, the LASD held a press conference and publicly admitted that their Deputies mistakenly shot the victim.

    • 20 some odd students stabbed at a school, dozens killed in a landslide, and CNN still has wall-to-wall ‘we still haven’t found that plane’ coverage, I’m pretty sure it would take a celebrity event to preempt that. Thank god Pistorious is foreign enough that we care a bit less. God help us all if the baby royal gets a sniffle, though.

  2. Appears to be a light skinned black male or perhaps Hispanic or other ethnic group. Probably a good shoot.

  3. I doubt race was much of a factor here. Fact is, all too often police tend to shoot first, decide who the good guys/bad guys are later, then meet for donuts at the local Krispy Kreme. Business as usual.

    Tom

    • Unfortunately if this was a citizen who shot the hostage, they would be in jail and being prosecuted, but it’s the police, so they’ll probably get a medal.

      • And that’s exactly why this once great (OK, at least decent) country is now nothing but a Dystopian dump.

  4. Huh. Says Winkler, the now dead hostage, was going to work as a producer for Tosh. Not pertinent to the shooting, but interesting nonetheless.

      • But he had time to make a zip gun while running towards the police.

        The question arises, “what is one supposed to to after escaping a hostage-taker? He would have lived longer if he just waited for the police to raid the place and get shot by them there.

  5. Shows that BIG city Police have no standards of marksmanship. Portland Police are just as horrible in there quals. Face it there a bunch of left wing jerks who get hired there not many good men are chosen for cops because they aren’t left wing jerks like the Mayor wants.

  6. “If it moves fast, it dies!” Is this the concept? Nothing about having a weapon?
    Or is there some huge departmental reward for being the first to shoot an actual perp, a reward so large it is worth risking the penalty of a bad shoot? Or is it that there isn’t much of a penalty for a bad shoot. “It happens. We have insurance.”

    • That concept looks about right. These SWAT twats all plated and padded up but still they feel the need to shoot first and make up their story later. This whole F’in overriding philosophy that the most important thing is that “they go home to their family unscathed” is a bunch of horsesheet. If the fire department had the same philosophy then every emergency call would be nothing but driving their trucks up to the burning building, stretching a yellow tape around the block and watch the building burn to the ground.

      If this whole “I will shoot anything that gives me the slightest bit of concern” is the new paradigm for police work then they need to have their pay cut by 30-40% and have it handed over to the fire department for people TRULY doing dangerous work.

    • Welcome to LA and the legacy of the filthbag that my grandfather wanted to assassinate back in the mid 70s – Darryl Gates.

      • The legacy goes beyond Gates. Only in fairytales and movies are evil due to “evil” individuals. Cops shoot innocents without much concern, because they can. The cop doing this deed will fare very differently than I would, if I had shot the guy. Which is why I didn’t, and he did.

  7. Yeah, like the December 1976 (old f**k) bank hostage situation where the LAPD killed two-three hostages as they were being released. Itchy trigger fingers or what? Know thy target. What’s the hurry?

  8. startle response. Would think a trained entry team wouldnt have it as bad as less trained folks

    since they had no malice i would guess no charges will be coming, Risk Management wont be happy tho.

  9. I’m a gonna use my crystal ball.

    1. SWAT was stacked up outside the door preparing for a dynamic kinetic environmental battle space control operation.

    2. A couple dudes yelling and scrambling about came out the door and scared the shit out of the first couple guys in the stack.

    3. Shots fired.

    4. Whoops. Sorry ’bout that.

    If unsure of who he was, and not seeing a weapon (I’m guessing) could they have:

    1. Bean bagged him?
    2. Tasered (tased) the bro?
    3. Sprayed him?
    4. Batoned him in the nuts?
    5. Punched him in the face with the Kevlar reinforced Blackhawk! SWAT Assault HellBreaker Gloves.
    6. Used verbal judo and yelled “Get your ass on the ground now!”

    Dunno. Not a cop. Just a Monday morning quarterback and all.

    • I really don’t get it. The entire point of SWAT or entry teams is skills and drills. But no.

      I’m reminded of the post a few weeks back, the Albuquerque PD, six of them, versus the hobo on the hill. He starts to give up, they flash-bang him, send in an unarmed dog wrangler, then shoot him because he pulls his knives to ward off the dogs “and the officer was unarmed”, then the less lethal guy puts in a few bean bags for sport. Some defend their actions but the governor turned the case over to the feds for investigation, and quickly.

      Are they hiring IQ 80 HS dropouts? In this economy? With bennies and pay they should be able to hire and train better. I think the fault is the training doctrine: The honors and promotions should always go to the cop who demonstrates nerve, a cool head, and the ability to avoid the use of lethal force when possible. If “when in doubt, shoot” is the policy, we really could just go back to neighborhood posse’s. It would be much cheaper and yield the same result. All that would change is who was saying “He made a sudden move. He threatened me…” after the shooting is over.

      • “Are they hiring 80 IQ drop outs?”

        Like that is a question. Police forces across the nation are famous for turning down any applicant who is smart enough to potentially realize what is going on. And what they are doing.

        The average beat cop is (at best) possessing of an AA in Criminal Justice. Which anyone with a brain could CLEP out of with a few days study.

      • Yep. Had a training officer tell me a few years back that they threw out the top 1/3 of the applicants without even considering them.

        He went on to say that the average performance on the spelling test (!) had most of the considered applicants scoring at about 8th grade level.

        He was not pleased with the job he was tasked to do.

        • Spelling test? I haven’t heard of such a thing. But the scariest thing in the world about a lot of new police hires is that they can’t write coherently. That may have been okay back when you could write “Saw drunk, arrested same.” but nowadays you need to be able to put a few sentences together… though it seems more a problem of college graduates than anything else.

          In MY day, when we had to walk uphill to go to school and get back home both ways in a snow storm and monsoon….

        • “I haven’t heard of such a thing. ”

          Shrug. I saw the test he had to give. It was part of a “Written Communication Test” which showed in general, as you state, a woeful lack of said skills.

  10. Let’s do a thought experiment. Assume that you are locked into a room with only one entrance. There are no extraneous threats – nobody attempting to break in, etc.

    Would you be safer if you were there by yourself, or if a cop was in there with you?

  11. Sadly neither Dirk nor myself got the sarcasm right off.
    Sometimes trying to be smart, we actually can be pretty dumb.

  12. Lets see the video. Surely somebody was wearing a bodycam or pointed the bearcat at the front door with the on board camera running. I’d like to see this “lunging at the back of the fleeing victim.” so I could judge for myself.

  13. That guy looks a fair amount like me. I don’t see any way for the LASD to make this right. I hate hearing about things like these.

    • C’mon man. You know better and that all that matters in any conflict is that your “brothers” make it home safe.

  14. This is the same police department that shot at a car that contained two women, a car that didn’t even match the description of the vehicle they were looking for. With all the money, the equipment and the training these SWAT teams have why aren’t they using non lethal methods? Oh, the safety of the officers? They wear more armor than most of our military, so how about we give them the same rules of engagement: no shooting until they are shot at.

  15. I heard about this on the radio a few days ago. The bs flag wen up because it said that there was a knife fight and when the popo came to break it up a man made a threatening move towards his knife so they shot him. It is unfortunate to see that my bs detector was correct.

  16. Pretty typical. Shoot first ask questions later – im sure rydak will buzz in to let us know it was all justified. Better to have unhurt cops and death victims than a police man put himself in harms way.

  17. I think if you’re a cop and shoot a good guy by mistake, like this, then your done as a police officer. You should not get a second chance to shoot another innocent person. Sorry, but here is no constitutionally protected right to be a police officer. Besides that, shoot first and ask questions later is not an acceptable police policy.

  18. They’re not even asking questions anymore. They are following the, “shoot first and give the family a couple million in taxpayer dollars later,” policy these days. Its like winning some kind of bittersweet lottery.

  19. Nothing righteous about this shoot. They should have identified the right man before firing. ATF did it wrong at Ruby Ridge. New militarized local law enforcement is doing it wrong now. Very sad. Even when there are lawsuit(s), we the taxpayer will pay those judgments.

  20. I read the LA Times report of this incident. The initial report from PD was that the two people who ran from the apartment “aggressed” officers and were shot. YES THEY SHOT BOTH OF THE GUYS RUNNING FROM DOORWAY! The days later came the “OOOOPS, OUR BAD!” explanation. Were I the chief of PD, there would a whole bunch of former officers facing the music.

    • You were ambiguous.
      If you’re saying that the number of times that the police get it right “is shockingly low” then I agree..

      • Thanks, yes, I meant to say that I suspect the percentage of good outcomes might be shockingly low. I hope I am wrong. On to my second cup of coffee!

  21. “Hey Sergeant, can I shot someone, I need a few weeks off with pay to finish remodeling my home?”

    “No problem, Thomas. Next person to walk out of the house, light ’em up.

    “Thanks Sarg, hey, we don’t get all dressed up just for nothing, right.”

  22. If it doesn’t look and act like a sheep, SHOOT IT! I’m tired of hearing what well trained professionals all LEO’s are. When you couple lower IQs with awesome killing power and no liability, along with mass adulation by the ignorant masses….innocents get SWAT-ed. Hey, stuff happens.. collateral damage. Friendly fire! All subsets of the military mindset that now pervades our”police” force.

  23. It’s a good thing the victim wasn’t armed, or the responding cops wouldn’t have known who was the good guy and who was the bad guy…

  24. This goes to show what people have to go through when identifying targets.

    Life isn’t a video game where you have blue arrows over the good guys and red arrows over the bad guys. You people in the comments have to realize this. This was a horrible misunderstanding, and I’m sure that the police department is going to get sued over it.

    There is something we call “Good call, bad shoot.” Any sane person would think that a person running after a bleeding person in an event like this is an assailant.

    • Any sane person would think that a person running after a bleeding person in an event like this is an assailant.

      The little flaw in your reasoning is that they apparently shot the person who was bleeding, too, it’s just that he didn’t die.

    • The fact that this happens often enough that there is a name for it, “Good call, bad shoot,” saddens me. I don’t understand how this shooting can be considered a “good call.” Neither shooting victim, the bleeding first one, or the one behind him, was armed. Finally, I am not sure what video games have to do with this tragedy. Normal people do not base life and death decisions on video games or other entertainment.

    • “Any sane person would think that a person running after a bleeding person in an event like this is an assailant.”

      Bull squat. It’s called training.

      Did that see a weapon? That’s the kind of thing most sane people look for before applying deadly force. Yeah, fists can be deadly weapons, but “running after” is not “actively beating.”

  25. Sounds like they made a mistake and shot the wrong guy, I’m not sure if this was a “hostage” situation, to me it sounds like it may have been an assault in progress.

    Logic would state that even if you know the police or whoever is about to come through the door your best bet is to sit tight. Police are looking for whoever they seem the biggest threat, that’s why the shot the wrong person.

    • Yeah, right. There is a guy hacking people up here, and I have a chance to make a run for it…nah, let’s sit here and wait for the police to act!!

  26. This situation really brings into focus what does constitute accurate “victim identification” at an active crime scene. I don’t see any 100% foolproof criteria that can be applied, particularly since the first guy “covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck.” apparently FAILED the “This guy must be a victim.” test and got shot, as well. What else would pass? One comment suggested use of “non-lethal” means as a first priority over lethal, That might be the better alternative, but maybe “you had to be there” to know if it applied to this case.

    It’s a tragedy for Winkler and his family, and my sympathies to go them.

    • “I don’t see any 100% foolproof criteria that can be applied,”

      Have you ever heard of “ability, opportunity, jeopardy”?

      No weapon, no ability to apply deadly force.

      • So, if you are saying “No weapon, no ability to apply deadly force” is the training criteria the LA Sheriff uses. then obviously it failed pretty spectacularly in this case…did it not? If you are saying LA Sheriff should use that criteria, it sounds better than whatever they did use. Does “lunging at the back of the fleeing victim.” {whom they were also shooting for having failed the “This must be a victim” test} count as some sort of weaponry? I am guessing we would both agree it does not.

        • “So, if you are saying “No weapon, no ability to apply deadly force” is the training criteria the LA Sheriff uses. then obviously it failed pretty spectacularly in this case…did it not? ”

          Ability, opportunity and jeopardy have been the central tenants of police deadly force training doctrine for multiple decades.

          And yes, it failed pretty spectacularly in this case.

          Incidentally, it’s the same legal (and moral) standard non-LEO citizens are held to for self defense. Put yourself into this shooting as the shooter and ask yourself how you would come out.

        • Putting myself in the same situation as the shooter, it would depend entirely on the situation, which has so many unknown variables, it is impossible to predict. The description of the incident provided by LA Sheriff’s Office makes it sound like it took place in a larger landscape than it probably actually did. If these two guys suddenly burst out the door with a few Deputies standing only a few feet off, only ONE Deputy had to erroneously conclude Winkler “lunging at the back of the fleeing victim” was stabbing the victim, open fire, and one, or more, other Deputies, took a cue from the first and fired, as well.
          So, it only takes a failure of training on the part of ONE person (maybe two) to result in this type of tragedy and it does not follow that all present Deputies fired. Bottom line: Winkler was the victim of the perfect “bad storm”, and like the “perfect storm”, much as we don’t want it, it will happen again.

  27. Job one — all the officers must get home safely. Even if they have to murder every innocent person in sight to do so.

  28. Wow…if a Concealed Carrier ever shot someone innocent, the gov’t would roll their head…

    This is manslaughter at the very least…possibly homicide. Those cops aren’t above the law now…are they???

  29. These things happen in a split second and require split second decisions. Never in my career and multiple situations like this. It’s simple !!! “NO VISABLE WEAPON-NO SHOOT” You meet deadly force with deadly force. If there was no sign of deadly force and no visable weapon, they [the police] should never have fired. they obvisously had one man out numbered. Did they not want to get their uniforms dirty?

    • Now Wayne, as a current LEO, and your former status, you should know of totality of circumstances. Lets think about this.. TTAG likes to print little bits. Here is the rest of the story. (via the Department involved so take it with a grain of salt) They knocked and announced, dispatch gave the description of a knife wielding attacker as a thin white male, black t-shirt. A soon as they knocked and announced, almost instantly, according to their press release, the door burst open, and two males charged from the door. The fist male suffering from a spurting and profuse neck wound ( appearance of deadly force to protect) With…. a thin white male, black t-shirt.. on his back, (guessing now )but hands probably not visible because they were shoving the first guy from behind in a panic, (which happens to look like thrusting a knife in a fleeing victims back…) And you should know the look of terror and look of crazy… kind of looks the same.. then take into account lighting and distance.. and well it just sucks.. Lets say their were no police… and that the people responding were good neighbors and practiced citizens… based upon the above scene.. the outcome would most likely be the same… That said, is the reason we all need to be prepared to defend ourselves…

      • And to add to it I’m not defending the officers here.. I think that there were multiple failures at every level of society.. first one would be that 3 “MEN” lacked the knowledge, tools and ability to stop one man from harming them and were forced to run scared. The second is lack of training from departments.. mine included… to REGULARLY practice complex use of force scenarios.. because of time and money constraints or just plain apathy….

        • Listen Paul G., Yes I am blaming them.. because when it comes down to it.. YOU are the only one that can be responsible for your own life.. not counting total accidents…People have yet to wake up to that little fact.. there was a time in this country when most boys were taught to fight, shoot, be a man and take responsibility. A time with a lot less police, and more acceptance of guns. I work in the field, outside of my core group of deputies, which most of us are military and have gone to combat (and have been woken up by it) as Infantry, SF, and MP’s..and still care about the constitution and doing good works.. Most cops do not do physical fitness, do not care, do not plan, and worst of all DO NOT shoot or train… So unless your lucky enough to get that 1 out of 10 officer that does… It is on YOU… Sad but true. I feel strongly about this but I’m interested in hearing your counter point..

        • You are so full of it your eyes are brown. So how will you modify your theory for women or children? Blame the husband, or the parents? Anybody but the people actually shooting innocent people.;
          Your credibility is less than zero. Your excuses are incredible as well.

  30. Well Paul ..See, this is when you can tell a man who has never had to man up. Or who has ever been forced too… First I did blame law enforcement officers and thier departments.. Re-read the end of my last two post.. It is clear.. It is their… If you cannot intelligently offer your point.. Outside of a few vague non in depth sentences and name calling.. But I will run with it..your question about women and children. As a husband do you not think it is your job to teach your wife and kids what to do in case of emergencies??? Are you really going to place foolish trust in an officer you do not know to do it for you… My points are simply this.. 1 you must be prepared to protect yourself and yours. 2) You cannot place trust in abilities of the police.. 3) you are ultimately responsible for your own safety and security..

    • Just as I thought. You make vague assumptions about what my life experiences are, and proceed to spout asinine commentary.
      Your comments about the wife and children are not germane to a hostage situation, though I rather believe my own wife would handle herself well.
      The point is, when cops do bad things, you are all too eager to find ways to absolve them of blame, and shift the blame to the victims. That makes you either a bad cop yourself, or an apologist for them.
      No use trying to speak intelligently with you. You should stop with the internet bravado as well, some day one of us on the internet might actually meet you. You wouldn’t like that, I guarantee it.

      • Paul I have no problem meeting you, (not exactly sure what you mean by one of us). Yes I made assumptions, sorry I do not know your background so all I have is assumptions. But I will man up.. this is who I am .. https://www.facebook.com/rogue.rager I do know that everyone has something thing to offer or lesson to teach. It is what takes us out of our box or comfort zone, expands our knowledge base and makes us better. Experience is not internet bravado, it shapes us and our thoughts. But it must must remain fluid in order to adapt. Mistakes will be made. Are the officers the reason for the death.. YES they pulled the trigger… but blame does not solve the greater issue.. nor does it bring dead people back or prevent future innocent deaths at the hands of cops or criminals.. You said yourself you think your wife can handle herself in said situation..That is because she and you took responsibility for your own protection.. That is what my post are about. That is the point I want to drive home..

        • I don’t use facebook, but I clicked onto yours, it appears yours is out of order. No problem there, I really don’t give a crap who you are, nor do I have any need to offer you my bio.
          Your point of view seems to migrate the more you realize that it is unpopular. Typical.

        • Unpopular??? The only people in this conversation is you and I. I offered who I am, but the fact is you have brought nothing to the table. No bio??? Is it because you have none? Not leg to stand on? Not a spine to place yourself out there? You made faint threats about “meeting for real”.. Please grow up and be adult? I would be glad to have you at the range or a micro-brew. Ever in the FT Benning GA area, let me know. As far as this conversation goes right now your just a troll hiding behind your keyboard.. No valid counter points, no credibility as to who you are and what you do and what you know… and worse of all no spine to put it out there. I’m not afraid too.. You have to sign in to facebook to see the profile.

        • Wow, you really talk a lot on the internet. I have no need to exhibit bravado online. Real men have no such issues. Your facebook still doesn’t work, could be just that I don’t have an account? Doesn’t matter. Proving myself to assholes is not a good use of my time, and proving myself to you would be even less useful. Anyone can create a façade on the net, I suspect you are very experienced at that. Those who talk the loudest, so they say. You are a rogue, for sure, and full of misplaced rage, too. Such a manly screen name.
          Unpopular, as in you proving how much a bad cop apologist you are.

        • I guess that is the standard line when challenged… I don’t have to prove myself to nobody blah blah…Real men blah blah blah… Assholes…blah blah blah.. Facade..BLAH BLAH ..I got it…. that’s your right. Maybe you wanted to be a soldier or badass but life did not take you that way. Maybe not. And that’s ok… Just don’t get confused about “Real Men”.. My offer still stands, if your ever in the Fort Benning area contact my personal email rogue_rager@hotmail.com

          v/r

          Joshua Rager
          CPT ALARNG
          BN / S4

        • Have a nice day. You an 0-3, God help us, the bravado laced idiots are moving up the rank structure. Fortunately, those with big mouths like yours rarely make field grade. No wonder you are in the guard.
          You are right, I do not have to prove myself. I never started making assertions or accusations, you are the one who decided he had to prove his manhood….and you have failed miserably.

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