A source close to the situation explained:
L.A. Sheriffs Mistakenly Shoot & Kill A Tosh.0 Production Assistant Who Was Being Held Captive By An Armed Assailant!
This is horrible!
Police just released details of a shooting that occurred in West Hollywood on Monday and everything we're learning about the tragic event is just AWFUL!
It all started when Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department responded to an “assault with a deadly weapon, man with a knife” call at a WeHo apartment building. In the fray, it looks like the sherifs accidentally mistook one of the victims for a suspect and one of them wound up shooting and killing an innocent man named John Winkler.
John, a WeHo resident 30-year-old production assistant on Tosh.0, was being held captive that night with two others at knife-point.
As law enforcement arrived on the scene and entered the building, they saw two victims rush out of the apartment unit where they believed the incident was taking place. The first, an unidentified victim, had a knife wound in his neck and bled from it profusely.
The second man, Mr. Winkler, whose appearance apparently matched the description they were given of the knife-wielding suspect, ran out the door right behind him. According to the report, he followed victim number one out the door in such away where it appeared he was lunging after him.
Believing they were witnessing a deadly assault in progress, three sheriff's deputies shot at John.
One bullet struck John and another struck the first victim. Both victims went down to the ground.
The police then moved inside the unit and encountered two other men involved in an altercation. One of them, 27-year-old Alexander McDonald, had reportedly overpowered a third victim and was choking him. There was also a large knife nearby on the floor.
Deputies used physical force to subdue Mr. McDonald and took him into custody.
John Winkler was rushed to the hospital, but he died from injuries sustained by the single gunshot wound. The other two victims were also treated at the hospital and they are doing much better. One was released already and the other is in stable condition.
Investigators have examined the evidence and determined that Alexander McDonald is the main suspect in the case. They allege he held all three men captive at knife-point.
Alexander was arrested and charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of torture. He is currently in custody and his bail is now set at four million dollars.
It's unclear exactly what, if anything, could happen to the deputies who responded to the call.
Either way this is one of the saddest cases of mistaken identity we have ever heard.
Our hearts go out to John's friends and family, the other victims, and everyone else affected by this completely awful tragedy.
[Image via WENN.]