LOS ANGELES, Ca. (WTVR) –An innocent victim was mistakenly shot to death by deputies who were responding to a report of a stabbing in West Hollywood earlier this week, the Sheriff’s Department acknowledged on Thursday.
Josh Winkler, 30, rushed out of an apartment behind another victim who was bleeding profusely from the neck and covered in blood, when deputies fired on both men, according to a sheriff’s news release.
The deputy-involved shooting occurred after a report of a “assault with a deadly weapon, man with a knife” at an apartment complex in the 900 block of Palm Avenue, a call that came in about 9:30 p.m. Monday, the news release stated.
Winkler, according to the Los Angeles Times, was a neighbor who had rushed to help the people being held hostage after hearing screams.
“The apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out,” the statement said. “He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck. Simultaneously, victim Winkler ran out of the door, lunging at the back of the fleeing victim. Both ran directly at the deputies.”
Three deputies fired at Winkler. He was shot once and died.
The suspect, who was arrested, was later identified as Alexander McDonald. McDonald was choking the third victim and “tearing at his face,” officials said, according to the L.A. Times.
Winkler was also held hostage after he stepped into the incident to help.
Winkler was an aspiring TV producer who had moved to West Hollywood from Washington state six months ago, according to multiple reports.
He was a recent hire on the comedy show “Tosh.0” where he worked as a production assistant — a position typically an entry point to producing.
An aunt told the L.A. Times said Winkler was thrilled about being in Hollywood.
Note, the incident happened on Monday, April 7, but the information did not begin to circulate until the sheriff’s office released their statement.
The suspect, 27-year-old, McDonald was transported to an area hospital where he was treated for minor injuries and released.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, has filed the following charges against suspect McDonald; one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of torture.
His bail has been increased from two million dollars to four million dollars.
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