Deputies Mistakenly Killed 'Tosh.0' Production Assistant In West Hollywood
The L.A. County Sheriff's Department admitted that they mistakenly shot and killed a Good Samaritan who was trying to help his West Hollywood neighbor being held hostage at knifepoint earlier this week.
John Winkler, 30, a production assistant on Tosh.0, was killed on Monday, April 7 when deputies responded to a call of a suspect with a knife in a West Hollywood apartment complex around 9:29 p.m., according to a release from the sheriff's department. The L.A. Times reported that Winkler was trying to help his neighbor who was being held hostage.
When deputies arrived, a man "bleeding profusely from the neck" rushed out of the apartment with Winkler trailing behind him. Deputies were told the suspect was a white man wearing a black shirt. Winkler fit the description. Three deputies fired their guns, hitting both Winkler and the stabbing victim.
The deputies then heard arguing between two men inside of the apartment and found the stabbing suspect, 27-year-old Alexander McDonald, "choking and tearing" at another man's face. There was a knife next to them. Deputies used force to subdue McDonald and arrested him.
Winkler was taken to the hospital where he died from one gunshot wound. The other victim the deputies shot in the leg is in stable condition at a hospital. The third victim is at the hospital for his stab wounds in his legs, arms and chest. McDonald only suffered from minor injuries. He has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder and one count of torture. His bail is set at $4 million.
Winkler had recently been hired as a temporary assistant on Comedy Central's Tosh.0. Winkler's friend, Devon Richardson, told the Times that Winkler had just moved to L.A. from Washington six months ago. "It's just a really sad story," Richardson said. "He basically went to help some neighbors and ends up getting shot."
UPDATE 12:04 p.m.: Although Winkler's friend Richardson had told the L.A. Times that Winkler rushed into his neighbor's apartment to help during the hostage situation, officials had a different story at a news conference on Thursday evening at the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department Headquarters Bureau in Monterey Park.
CBS News reported that while Winkler was visiting his two friends, McDonald got onto the balcony from the outside and then attacked the men with a butcher knife. Police said witnesses told them McDonald was acting erratic and "delusional."
“The deputies perceived the wounded man was under continuous attack by the second individual,” Sheriff John Scott said at the news conference, according to KTLA. “The deputies simultaneously fired a total of four rounds in the defense of the wounded man. The man in the black shirt felt motionless and soon expired."