Family of Wash. man shot by LA deputies files $25 million claim



Posted on April 29, 2014 at 4:19 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 29 at 5:46 PM

SEATTLE -- The family of an aspiring TV producer who was shot by LA deputies filed a claim against the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department seeking $25 million in damages for his death.

John Winkler, 30, was mistakenly shot and killed by deputies during a hostage situation in West Hollywood April 7.

“Words really can’t express how devastated we really are,” said mother Lisa Ostergren. “It’s not just me. There are so many grieving for John.”

Winkler and two other people were held captive by a man with a knife inside a West Hollywood apartment. When deputies arrived, they thought Winkler was the attacker and shot him as he ran out of the apartment.

“At the time John was shot the police had a picture of the person who was holding the other men hostage in there,” said attorney Sim Osborn.

Osborn and the Winkler family held a press conference Tuesday morning to announce their decision to take legal action. Osborn submitted the claim and plans to file a lawsuit against the sheriff’s department.

“I just pray for God to take away the pain and I miss him so much,” said Ostergren.

Deputies arrested Alexander McDonald, 27, in connection with the attack.  McDonald is from Shoreline, Wash., and knew Winkler.

Winkler moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television.  He just recently landed a temporary job with the Tosh.0 show. He was from Puyallup and attended the Seattle Film Institute.

A spokesperson with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said they have not reviewed the legal documents filed by the Winkler family, but the department will look into any allegations and conduct an investigation.