Friday, April 11, 2014

Murder LA 000046

On Tuesday it was reported that there had been multiple stabbings and an officer-involved shooting on Palm Ave in West Hollywood. At that time the official story was that Sheriff's deputies were checking reports of an assault, when two men exited the apartment and "lunged" at them. Only one of those men was shot and killed by the deputies, who then entered the apartment to find two more men, one choking the other. All three survivors had been stabbed.

John Winkler
via KABC
A very confusing situation, relayed by a deputy apparently acting as a spokeswoman, which made it sound as if there were multiple assailants, ending with an attack on the officers.

On Thursday the Sheriff's Department painted a very different picture. The two men who "lunged" at the deputies were, in fact, victims--one "bleeding profusely from the neck." The deceased, 30-year-old John Winkler, was following close behind, and was now shot because he was "lunging" at the bleeding man.

Winkler, according to a friend who talked to the LA Times, lived in a neighboring unit and got involved because he heard screaming. They report that he knew the hostages, one of whom lived in that apartment with the attacker, Alexander McDonald. KTLA has a very different version of events from another friend who said Winkler and the other man were simply visiting McDonald and his roommate when McDonald took and hid everybody's phones, claiming that they were bugged, then grabbed a large knife, at which point they made him leave the apartment, but he got back in by climbing to a balcony.

I think police have a very difficult job and deserve some leeway on split-second decisions. According to the Department statement, a witness gave the responding officers a description of the attacker: a thin, white male wearing a black shirt. Now, this is a fairly useless description--probably half of West Hollywood is thin, white males, but I can perhaps understand them confusing him as the assailant. They would certainly get flak if the story was instead that they had stood idly by and watched as a bloody victim was stabbed again in front of them.

Their story on Tuesday, however, is not understandable. That whole "bleeding profusely from the neck" thing went unsaid in favor of two men lunging at police, and contrary to what was said on Tuesday, the LA Times on Thursday reported that one of the other victims, presumably the other runner, was shot in the leg by deputies. The Assistant Sheriff said he was briefed Tuesday that it was "pretty apparent" that they shot the wrong guy, so why was it given to the press so differently on that same day?

Palm Villa
via Google Maps
McDonald is in custody, with bail set at $4 million. He has been charged with murder, attempted murder and torture. Under California's felony-murder rule, a perpetrator can be charged with murder if the commission of a felony causes a death, even unintentionally.

The other man who was shot is said to be in stable condition.

The city of West Hollywood says the incident will be reviewed by several agencies, including the County of Los Angeles Office of Independent Review and the Sheriff Department's Internal Affairs Division.
Davids and Ma
via Facebook

The apartment complex on Palm was the scene of another gruesome crime less than two weeks prior, on March 29th. Andre Damiane Davids killed and mutilated his boyfriend/roommate, Dr. Kurtland Ma. Police found Ma dead on his kitchen floor, reportedly with his genitalia cut off and stuffed in his own mouth. Davids was found in a bathroom, having stabbed himself and taken pills in a failed suicide attempt. An officer was quoted as saying that it appears to be a crime of passion, with one partner having been unfaithful, though perhaps we should be weary of preliminary statements.

Ma posted several photos of himself
performing stunts in front of famous sites.