September 29, 2012 (Lakeside)—Sergeant Craig Johnson has been released from Scripps Mercy Hospital and is recovering at home with his family, Sheriff Gore reported today. Johnson, along with Deputy Ari Perez, were shot by a child abuse suspect with a high-powered rifle. Perez remains hospitalized following surgery.
Sheriff Bill Gore praised the heroism of a third officer, who went to the apartment with Perez and Johnson to arrest the suspect. According to Sheriff Gore, the unnamed deputy “physically shielded his partners” after the potentially lethal shooting began. “This deputy was able to assist Craig Johnson to a position of safety in the adjoining vacant apartment.
Several responding deputies rushed toward the apartment in an effort to not only rescue their fallen comrades, but keep others from harm.”
Daniel Robert Witczak, the suspect, was arraigned yesterday at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest, where he remains hospitalized for bullet wounds sustained in the shootout.
Sheriff Gore commented, "I wanted to take this opportunity, while the events of Tuesday are fresh in the minds of the public, to recognize the efforts of the many deputies, individually and collectively, who put their own lives at risk to save two of their own. I have never been more proud to be their Sheriff than I am today."