The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department has acknowledged that their officers shot and killed a man who was the victim of a knife wielding attacker.
According to the LA Times, 30-year-old John Winkler was killed outside of a friend’s West-Hollywood apartment on Monday night after he went there to help friends who were being held hostage by 27-year-old Alexander McDonald.
One of Winkler’s other friends said that he knew the people in the apartment and had rushed over to help after receiving a call that they were in trouble.
When the deputies arrived on the scene, Winkler ran out of the apartment behind another victim and was laughing at the wounds on his back. Cops mistakenly thought he was attacking the man and fired three shots at him, of which one made contact and killed him.
Authorities then heard screams coming from the apartment, and when they entered they found McDonald choking another man and “tearing at his face,” he also had stab wounds. They were able to subdue McDonald and arrest him.
The man who exited the apartment with Winkler was also shot, and he was taken to the hospital to be treated for stab wounds to the neck and a gunshot wound to the leg.
A third victim was treated at the hospital for stab wounds to the leg, arms and chest. He has since been released from the hospital. According to police, McDonald was the roommate of one of the victims.
McDonald has been charged with murder, attempted murder, and torture in the incident, and is being held on a $4 million bond that hasn’t been posted yet.
The police said in a statement that the mistaken shooting of Winkler is “very tragic,” and that police believed that “Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team.”
Winkler had just moved to the area roughly six months ago and was an aspiring television producer. He had recently been hired on to the show Tosh.O as a production assistant and his family said that he was ecstatic about being in Hollywood.
His aunt recalled the last time she had spoken to him in January.
“He was just boisterous and excited, he was just getting his foot in the door of life. Just, the light was right around the corner…and [now] he’s gone.”
There’s no word on when memorial services will be held for Winkler.