Los Angeles police accidently shot two hostages who were fleeing a man wielding a butcher knife Monday, killing one and injuring the other.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a call in West Hollywood about a man threatening people with a 10-inch butcher knife.
The alleged attacker was Alexander McDonald, 27, who was “in an incoherent state of mind, seemed very paranoid, which was uncharacteristic,” according to sheriff’s homicide Lt. David Coleman.
McDonald took his roommate, 30-year-old John Winkler and another man hostage. He flew into a rage and stabbed and slashed the victims.
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When police arrived they knew only that the hostage-taker was a thin man wearing a black shirt.
When Winkler, an aspiring TV producer, tried to flee, police mistook him for the hostage-taker.
“The door suddenly opened and a man with blood spurting form his neck entered the doorway” with Winkler — a thin man in a black shirt — running behind him, said Los Angeles County Sheriff John Scott told a news conference Thursday.
Three deputies fired four shots at Winkler, fatally wounding him. The other hostage was hit in the leg and was hospitalized in stable condition.
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Further inside the apartment, deputies found McDonald chocking and tearing at the face of his third hostage. Both were hospitalized for cuts and minor injuries.
Coleman said McDonald had no criminal history and nothing from his past was consistent with the bizarre and violent attack.
Winkler was a production assistant on the Comedy Central show “Tosh.0.”
Winkler’s friend, Trevor Jess, told KING-TV in Seattle that he was “just starting out, ready to climb the ladder and that’s the thing that breaks my heart.”
The deputies involved in the shooting were removed from patrol but are expected to return to full duty next week.