John Winkler was shot and killed April 7 after being mistaken for a knife attacker
The family of John Winkler has filed a $25 million claim against the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, after deputies mistakenly shot and killed the aspiring TV producer during a knife attack April 7.
The claim is in accordance with the rules in California, which require that a plaintiff must file a claim that includes a damage amount prior to filing a lawsuit. Should the case not be settled and moves to trial, a jury would determine what, if any, monetary award is appropriate.
Sim Osborn, an attorney representing Winkler's family, said that Winkler's death was “eminently avoidable,” and that the filing “will help us understand” who Winkler was accidentally killed.
“I don't think there is any burden greater for a parent to bear than burying their child, and John's parents also have to endure the knowledge that his death was eminently avoidable had the sheriff's deputies exercised any degree of prudency before opening fire,” Osborn said in a statement Tuesday. “We hope that the legal filing will help us understand how the deputies could have shot two innocent young men, mistaking them both for the assailant, tragic decisions leading to tragic outcomes.”
Winkler, 30, was one of three men who was being held hostage at knifepoint at an apartment in West Hollywood by suspect Alexander McDonald, 27. Deputies who responded to the situation believed Winkler was the attacker when he pursued another victim out the front door of the apartment; both were bloodied from the knife attack.
The family will also speak publicly for the first time about the incident at a press conference Tuesday in Seattle — not far from Winkler's hometown of Puyallup, Wash. Winkler's aunt told TheWrap shortly after his death that the aspiring producer was a kind man who loved his family.
“He was a bright kid and he was really funny and enthusiastic and he went down there to make his way in that industry,” Anne-Marie Vanwart, said at the time. “I've known him since he was about 9-10 months old. He was really good to his grandparents, particularly good to his grandparents, and he had a lot of good friends here, friends that were good kids like he was.”