John Winkler was killed on Monday when Los Angeles Sheriff’s Deputies mistook the Tosh.0 production assistant for a stabbing suspect.
The sheriff’s department said the 30-year-old Winkler was fatally shot when officers responded to a 911 call from West Hollywood warning about an assault with a deadly weapon and a man with a knife. The real suspect was Alexander McDonald, who had held a group of men including Winkler hostage inside an apartment.
Police said as they were searching for the suspect, John Winkler ran at them quickly. The deputies said the believed that “Winkler was the assailant and the assault was ongoing and he would attack the entry team.”
The Tosh.0 production assistant was then shot and killed.
Deputies initially did not mention the accidental killing. A news release the day of the shooting said that two people were shot who “aggressed the deputies.”
“As deputies continued attempts to contact the people in the apartment, the apartment door suddenly opened and a male victim came rushing out. He was covered in blood and bleeding profusely from the neck,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a press release.
“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. Victim Winkler was struck by the gunfire and fell to the floor, and the male victim also collapsed; struck once by the gunfire.”
Once inside the apartment, police found Alexander McDonald choking and tearing at the face of another victim. They subdued him and took the suspect into custody.
McDonald, who police said was a computer programmer with no history of violence, has been charged with one count of murder, two counts of attempted murder, and one count of torture.
The sheriff’s department said the killing of John Winkler was a tragic incident. Comedy Central had no comment on the death of the Tosh.0 production assistant.