Family Of Mistakenly Slain Man Wins Lawsuit

WEST HOLLYWOOD—The family of John Winkler, 30, an aspiring television producer who was gunned-down by Los Angeles sheriff’s deputies following a hostage situation in April 2014, has settled a federal lawsuit alleging the deputies used excessive force.

Prior to his death, Winkler was the hostage of suspect Alexander McDonald, a man who was reportedly crazed and holding Winkler and two other men at knife-point in his West Hollywood apartment complex.

The family of John Winkler (pictured) has won a lawsuit alleging officers used excessive force when they mistakenly gunned him down a year ago.

After deputies responded to the scene, Winkler and McDonald rushed from the building in a formation that led officers to mistake Winkler for the assailant and McDonald for the victim. Winkler was shot four times and McDonald was shot once.

Winkler succumbed to his gunshot wounds in the hospital, leaving family members to mourn his sudden death.

Though McDonald was also shot once, his wounds were not fatal. He is currently awaiting trial for murder and other charges.

In the aftermath of the shooting, Winkler’s family filed suit, seeking unspecified damages for negligence on the part of responding law enforcement. Filed in December 2014, the lawsuit cites deputies Michael Fairbank, Byron Holloway and Gerardo Baldivia for excessive use of violence.

One year later, a minute order issued by United States District Judge Dolly M. Gee confirmed that the case has been settled. In a future meeting, it is anticipated that the Board of Supervisors will approve the settlement.

The exact monetary amount of the settlement has not been disclosed to the public.