The Los Angeles Ciunty Sheriff’s department acknowledged Thursday that officers accidentally shot 30-year-old John Winkler, a production assistant for Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0,” who they mistakenly believed was the suspect in a stabbing incident inside a West Hollywood apartment.
In actuality, Winkler had gone to the apartment to help his friends, who were being held hostage by a knife-wielding assailant. This man, 27-year-old Alexander McDonald, was captured alive after the shooting of Winkler.
When police arrived on scene, Winkler ran out of the apartment with another victim. He was bleeding. Cops thought he was attacking the other victim, and fired three shots. He was struck once and killed.
Inside the apartment, authorities found the alleged perpetrator — McDonald — and a third victim. McDonald was choking the third person and “tearing at his face,” according to The Los Angeles Times.
McDonald has been charged with murder, attempted murder and torture. He is being held on a $4 million bond.
The police department called the mistaken shooting of Winkler “very tragic.”
A friend of Winkler’s said the 30-year-old knew the people in the apartment and had rushed over to help when he heard they were in trouble.
He was new to Los Angeles, having moved there six months ago to pursue a career in studio production. He had recently secured work as a production assistant for Tosh.O.
The incident took place Monday night, though media outlets did not learn about it until Thursday. It was not immediately clear why the information was withheld.