WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Concerned citizens gathered in West Hollywood Sunday night seeking answers about the death of a 30-year-old man mistakenly shot by deputies.

John Winkler was shot and killed Monday night when sheriff’s deputies responded to a hostage situation at an apartment complex on Palm Avenue.

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Dozens of West Hollywood residents joined in solidarity Sunday night, walking together from the crime scene to their local sheriff’s station to voice their support and remember Winkler, who was mistaken for the suspect.

“He was unarmed, you know, and the first thing that came to their mind was guns, shooting. It’s sad,” West Hollywood resident Christy Morales said.

On Thursday, the sheriff’s department admitted they made a deadly mistake in fatally shooting the innocent man.

Deputies were called to the location with reports of a man with a knife. The onetime Tosh.0 production assistant came running out of the apartment with another stabbing victim when deputies opened fire on him, thinking he was the suspect.

“The door suddenly opened and a man with blood spurting from his neck entered the doorway. The deputies perceived the wounded man was under continuous attack by the second individual,” Interim Sheriff John Scott said.

Concerned citizen Gregory Mahan is demanding more answers, however.

“Why do you shoot unarmed people? Particularly when you don’t know whether they are victims or perpetrators?” he asked.

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Winkler was shot four times and died at the hospital.

The other victim was shot once. The sheriff’s department says both men were actually victims of the real suspect, Alexander McDonald, who lived in the building. Winkler and the other victim were trying to escape the man.

“I tried to organize the vigil so that we can provide some closure and move on as a unified community and go forward tomorrow with a fresh start,” vigil organizer Larry Block said.

The investigation into Winkler’s death continues.

In the meantime, McDonald remains behind bars on one count of murder.


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