The three deputies involved in the fatal shooting on April 7 of a young man fleeing an assault at 939 Palm Ave. will return to duty in West Hollywood next week.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced the return of the deputies, who haven’t been identified. They were put on paid leave after the April 7 incident in which John Winkler, 30, was shot and killed as he fled an apartment at 939 Palm whose tenant, Alexander McDonald, was holding Winkler and two other men hostage. One of the men, as yet unidentified, was running with Winkler from the apartment and was wounded by gunfire from the deputies.
The Sheriff’s Department initially justified the shooting by noting that the deputies had been told that only two men were in the apartment and that Winkler was dressed similarly to the alleged assailant.
“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out,” a department statement said. “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 shooting and the treatment of other residents of 939 Palm during the investigation of the incident has provoked outrage among some city residents. About 50 residents attended a rally in front of the apartment building on Sunday night to mourn the death of Winkler and of Dr. Kurtland Ma, 34, who was killed in an unrelated incident in the same building on March 29. Many also demanded an investigation of how the Sheriff’s Department handled the incident.
The deputies returning to work have gone through training that the department requires after such an incident.
McDonald has been charged with murder, two counts of attempted murder and torture. He is being held in lieu of $4 million bail and has pleaded not guilty to the charges. Andres Davids, arrested in the murder of Kurtland Ma, his lover, is being held in lieu of $1 million bail.