LA County

$2.5 Million Settlement to Man Mistakenly Shot By Deputies

The LA County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to pay out $2.5 million to settle a lawsuit brought by a man held hostage and stabbed -- allegedly by his roommate --before being shot in the leg by deputies who killed a third man mistaken for the suspect.

The settlement goes to Liam Mulligan. Last August, the board approved a $5 million payment to the family of Mulligan's friend, John Winkler, who was shot to death by sheriff's deputies who thought he was the hostage-taker.

On April 7, 2014, Winkler and Mulligan were watching basketball with Mulligan's roommate, Alexander McDonald, in their West Hollywood apartment when McDonald allegedly pulled a knife and threatened to kill the other two.

During a 2014 preliminary hearing for McDonald, 29, who is awaiting trial on murder and other charges, Mulligan testified that he was shot by sheriff's deputies as he rushed out of the apartment clutching his neck, where he had been stabbed.

Winkler rushed out after McDonald. A sheriff's sergeant testified that one deputy who opened fire mistakenly assumed that Winkler was using Mulligan as a human shield.

Winkler's family's lawsuit alleged that before the shooting, a woman in the apartment complex showed deputies photos of McDonald and Winkler, identifying McDonald as the alleged assailant. One deputy showed the photo of McDonald to other deputies, saying "Alex is our guy," according to the suit.

County attorneys provided no background or corrective action plan with their recommendation to the board to settle Mulligan's case, citing only the risks and uncertainties of litigation.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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