Gaslamp shooting location
The street corner in the Gaslamp where the shooting occurred. Courtesy OnScene.TV

A man who opened fire in the Gaslamp Quarter last summer and shot two bystanders in the process pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault, robbery and other charges.

Johnza Watson, 25, is slated to be sentenced to 15 years and six months in state prison for the June 24 shooting near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and F Street.

Prosecutors allege that during a “gang-related altercation” between Watson and others, he opened fire and missed the intended target, but struck two women standing at a crosswalk. One of the victims was shot in the hand, while the other was struck in the chest.

The victims were from the East Coast and visiting San Diego for a work-related conference, according to a statement posted online by their employer shortly after the shooting.

Watson was arrested about a week later in connection with the assault and robbery of a man, also in the Gaslamp Quarter. At Watson’s arraignment, Deputy District Attorney Ted Fiorito said the victim was attacked by a group of people, including Watson.

During that assault, the victim’s cell phone and wallet were taken.

The prosecutor said that when Watson was arrested, blood was found on his shoes, which allegedly came from Watson kicking the victim.

On Tuesday, Watson pleaded guilty to two counts of assault with a semi-automatic firearm for shooting the two women, one count of attempted voluntary manslaughter for shooting at the intended victim, and robbery for the theft that took place the following week.



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Ellen Bullock