The young man killed by gunfire from L. A. County Sheriff’s Department deputies Monday at 939 Palm Ave. apparently was a victim and not the instigator of the knife attack the deputies were called to investigate.
In a press release today, the Sheriff’s Department identified the young man as John Winkler, 30. Winkler and two other men were being held hostage in the apartment, the department said, by its tenant, Alexander McDonald, who was threatening them with a knife.
“The deputies were told by informants there were only two males residing in the apartment and described the suspect as a male, white, thin build, wearing a black shirt,” the Sheriff’s Department said. “The field sergeant quickly assembled an entry team, along with deputies armed with less lethal weapons. The team staged at the front door of the apartment and announced themselves, but obtained no response. 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 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.”
When they entered the apartment, the deputies found McDonald fighting with another man, “choking and tearing at his face. Deputies could see the victim was about to go unconscious and a large knife was on the floor near them. The deputies were able to use physical force to subdue the suspect and end the assault.”
According to the press release, McDonald went into a rage, holding the three men at knifepoint and began to stab them. One of the victims was MacDonald’s roommate, who hasn’t been identified. Winkler and the other victim, who also hasn’t been officially identified, were visiting the second-floor apartment
Winkler and the victim who was shot were taken to the hospital, where Winkler later died from a single gunshot wound. The second victim was treated for stab wounds and a gunshot wound to the leg and released. The other man inside the apartment was also taken to a hospital where he was treated for stab wounds to the legs, arms and chest and then released.
McDonald, 27, was treated for minor injuries and is currently in custody. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office has charged him with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of torture. His bail is set at $4 million. McDonald has pleaded not guilty to all charges. He is due back in court May 8
Winkler had moved to Los Angeles only a few months ago from Seattle and was employed as a production assistant on the television comedy “Tosh.0.”
The gunfire and police cars startled nearby residents, who only two weeks ago had been stunned by the stabbing death in the same building of Kurland Ma, 34, a doctor who had recently moved to West Hollywood. His boyfriend, Andres Davids, 36, was charged with his murder. He is being held in lieu of $1 million bail..