John Winkler, 30, was killed on Monday, April 7, after being mistakenly identified as a crime suspect. The Los Angeles man, who had worked as a temporary production assistant on the Comedy Central show Tosh.0, died after sustaining gunshot wounds. He was shot by L.A. County Sheriff's deputies responding to a crime scene.
According to the Los Angeles Times, there was a hostage situation at Winkler's neighbor's apartment in West Hollywood. He reportedly got involved when he tried to help and was held in the home by the suspect with his neighbor and a third victim. When Winkler escaped from the apartment, responders mistook him for the suspect.
"Believing Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team, three deputies fired their duty weapons at him," a statement from the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department read.
Winkler had moved to L.A. six months prior to pursue his dreams of working in the entertainment industry. He reportedly studied at the Seattle Film School and was described as "a genuinely nice guy."
"I have no doubt the entire Sheriff’s Department mourns the death of John Winkler, none more than the deputies involved," Interim Sheriff John Scott said at a news conference.
The current suspect in the hostage situation, Alexander Tor McDonald, is in police custody on $4 million bail. The two other victims were hospitalized for stab wounds from the suspect, and one of the men was treated for a gunshot wound after the deputies fired.