Friends and family of Los Gatan Scott Everett Wininger are remembering him this week as a true gentleman who cared about those in need and was an excellent provider for his loved ones.
Wininger was pronounced dead Friday morning at Mercy Medical Center Redding after being disconnected from life support.
The 43-year-old father of one was hospitalized after he went into cardiac arrest and stopped breathing following an altercation with Redding police officers who deployed a Taser on him the evening of Oct. 3.
The incident occurred at 2605 Lake Redding Drive after authorities responded to the Redding address on a disturbance call.
When they arrived, police say Wininger "was acting bizarre and appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance to the point that the residents were fearful for their safety."
Fiance Iris Pogue, 45, who had separated from him two months ago, said she's upset that information from the Redding Police Department portrays Wininger as having a long history of drug abuse and violence toward law enforcement.
"That's not true. He had issues with the cops years ago ... " Pogue said, speaking to Los Gatos Patch via telephone from her new home in Missouri.
Shasta County Sheriff's Detective William Gardner said he could not discuss specifics related to the case since it's still an open and active investigation. "I can't really comment any further on it ... We're waiting for the coroner's results. We're waiting for all the various interviews that have been done that must be put to paper ... so we can put it all together and review it all and complete our investigation," Gardner said. "We will look for everything that implicates as well as exonerates ... We're just collecting all the information."
Pogue said she was living with Wininger where the incident took place and that the residence belonged to him.
She said she and Wininger belonged to the Sun Oaks Country Club in Redding where they exercised daily and tried to lead healthy lifestyles.
"He was a healthy man," she recalled. "He never once let me open up my own door.
"A lot of people judge a book by its cover," Pogue said. But Wininger's hard look was misleading. "When he died he was bald, he had a goatee and he had a large tattoo, but that was all a facade."
Pogue said in real life, Wininger was more like the man she had met in 2001, wearing a Hawaiian print shirt, sporting a traditional haircut with a clean shaven face. They began dating at the end of 2010.
Wininger was born in Carmichael, was raised in San Jose, attended Archbishop Mitty High School and lived in Los Gatos for some time with a friend.
Pogue said Wininger worked as a realtor in Bakersfield for many years and had moved to Redding with her to seek a more laid back kind of life.
Wininger also attended San Joaquin College of Law in Clovis after graduating from UCLA in 1993. However, he never passed the bar. At one point, he worked for a district attorney's office in the Bay Area, she said. "He was a great guy. He was an upstanding citizen ... He was trying to make a home for himself and his son."
Pogue said she believes the night of the incident Wininger had been doing meth and had not taken his medication for bipolar disorder. She suspects he probably stopped taking the medication for a few months due to headaches he got as a side effect. "I believe Scott went into a depression. He got backed up into a corner ... He was a very depressed guy when he was not on his medicines. He could not control his mood swings."
She also said she heard from those close to him before he died that he would spend days and weeks in his room, began sinking into a deep depression and would play the Call of Duty video game for hours without sleeping while abusing meth.
The night he was tasered by the cops, Pogue said he was disoriented when he exited his room and acted like he was playing Call of Duty in his mind and real life. "When they couldn't control him, or understand what was wrong with him, the cops ... tried to subdue him, but he couldn't tell the difference between reality and fiction."
Prior to sinking into a deep depression, Wininger was working full time on his distributing company. "He was not the bad, nasty drug dealer that he's been portrayed as," she said, sobbing.
"Did he not provide for everybody? There are so many people who would speak up for him. He made life happen for other people. He helped my nephew, his wife and six children move from Arizona."
She said Wininger also helped her son move into an apartment in Phoenix. "He didn't ask any questions. He just helped everybody."
Pogue said she's not upset the officers deployed the Taser on Wininger, but that they should have known upon arrival that he was under the influence of drugs and that he no longer knew who he was.
Wininger's father, Cliff Wininger, a former California Highway Patrol sergeant, said all his son wanted to do that evening was get away from the cops. "Had he wanted to assault them [the officers] ... he would have hurt them. My son had a black belt in karate and none of the officers were hurt at all.
"My son has never been in prison," he said. "He was having some kind of an episode that was very severe ... maybe excited delirium. That fits very closely to what the description is as to what he was doing. Whatever it was, it was a medical emergency."
Cliff Wininger said his son was tasered in the back while running away. "My son knew people in every walk of life. Everyone we've talked to so far says Scott was one of the greatest guys there was and all he ever wanted to do was help people. He was an awesome person. He was very intelligent and he liked to help people. This shouldn't have happened to him."
He also said his son was brain dead by the time he arrived at the hospital Wednesday evening and that, had he survived, he would have had severe brain damage.
Wininger is survived by father Cliff Wininger, a sister and 8-year-old son Sebastian. He's preceded in death by his mother. His memorial service is being planned sometime this weekend.
The Redding Police Department initiated a so-called “multi-agency critical incident response” protocol and requested the Redding Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit to investigate the case.
The cause of death is pending an autopsy. The names of the officers involved are being withheld pending the investigation's outcome. They are not on administrative leave.