A Marine who admitted firing a gun inside his Vista apartment, sending one shot through the front door and into the neighbors’ apartment, was sentenced to probation and "veterans' court” yesterday, May 16.
The night of December 25, Christopher Michael Johnson, 26, was arrested after he fired four .44 caliber rounds in a drunken spree.
Johnson immediately paid a $2000 fee to All Pro Bail Bonds, which guaranteed his $25,000 bail. He has been at liberty since.
Last month, Johnson admitted one felony count of unlawful discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling; in the plea deal, one charge of grossly negligent discharge was dismissed.
Two rounds went through his television set, one round went through a patio door and was not recovered, and the shot through his front door passed into his neighbors’ apartment, according to prosecutor Marnie Layon.
The neighbors, identified as James and Alexis, were asleep at the time and were unhurt. According to the prosecutor, the couple moved away because they feared the “reckless conduct” of Johnson. Judge Carlos Armour yesterday granted a protective order for the couple, per the prosecutor’s request.
Johnson’s attorney told the court that his client served overseas defending his country and now suffers PTSD and “sleepwalking episodes.” The judge wryly noted that his neighbors now also suffer PTSD.
The prosecutor stated that Johnson has “escalating alcoholic-driven out-of-control behavior,” and pointed out that she was the attorney who had accepted his plea in a DUI case just two weeks before the drunken indoors-shooting incident. The prosecutor further claimed that Johnson was caught tampering with his SCRAM device, trying to interfere with its alcohol-sensing abilities.
The prosecutor requested 365 days in custody and that the eight firearms confiscated from Johnson be destroyed.
Judge Armour declared Johnson’s prior record to be “insignificant” and said he found the defendant “remorseful” and granted three years’ probation. The judge said Johnson could sell his firearms through a licensed firearms dealer and that his family could keep the proceeds.
The judge ordered Johnson to appear in San Diego’s East County Courthouse on June 6 and submit to veterans’ court at that time.