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Man pleads not guilty to Gaslamp shooting that injured two bystanders

Posted at 6:28 PM, Jul 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-07 21:28:08-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)—Thursday, the man accused of firing off a gun in the Gaslamp Quarter on June 24, hitting two bystanders, pleaded not guilty to charges including attempted murder and assault with a firearm.

25-year-old Johnza Watson appeared remotely in a downtown courtroom for an arraignment Thursday afternoon. The judge ordered news crews not to show his face.

Watson is accused of firing off the gun during a fight between two groups near 5th Ave. and F St. Prosecutors allege he missed his intended target and hit two women who were in the crosswalk.

“The first victim was shot through the hand, she is 27 years old, the bullet then traveled to the second victim and went through her chest, damaging her liver, spleen, and spine, she is 32 years old,” said a prosecutor Thursday.

The two victims were identified as Lane Sheer and Toni Yrlas. The Preiss Company, a multifamily housing business, said they are employees of the company, and were in San Diego attending an industry conference.

In a statement, a company said,

“Our Preiss Company family is saddened by the senseless gun violence that severely injured two of our own while attending an industry conference in San Diego. Both Lane and Toni are long-standing Preiss Company employees and are well-loved throughout our company, our local community, and the multifamily industry as a whole. The outpouring of support shown by those in our industry has been nothing short of tremendous. Lane, Toni, and their families are extremely grateful to all of those that have donated and provided encouragement in this extremely sensitive time. The Preiss Company remains committed to supporting both Lane and Toni in whatever way possible. Additional information will be provided at a later date as Lane and Toni and their families see fit.”

Watson was caught about a week later after police say he was allegedly involved in a separate assault and robbery incident.

Prosecutors say he had an active arrest warrant for an out-of-state misdemeanor domestic violence incident and was on probation at the time of the shooting.

Watson is being held without bail for now. He’s due back in court later this month.

A GoFundMe page was started to raise money for the victims’ medical bills.