El Cerrito Police ID Man Shot by Officers

Michael Christopher Johnson, 48, remained in critical condition Saturday, according to police.

Police provided additional details Saturday about the shooting this week of a Richmond man near a gas station at San Pablo and Potrero avenues.

They said Michael Christopher Johnson, 48, was pistol-whipping a woman and ignored officers' orders that he stop his attack. They fired six times at Johnson, according to a news release issued Saturday.

Here's the full text of that release:

Officer Involved Shooting – Updated Information

El Cerrito, CA – December 29, 2012

At 6:40 pm, on December 27, the El Cerrito Police Department received 911 calls from residents in the area reporting a disturbance behind the Chevron gas station, located at the corner of San Pablo Ave. and Potrero Ave.  The callers reported that a woman was yelling for help and a witness helped point out the area to responding officers.  El Cerrito officers arrived at the location and found Michael Christopher Johnson (48 years old, of Richmond) striking a woman in the head with the pistol.  Mr. Johnson ignored orders from the officers at the scene to stop his attack.  When Mr. Johnson pointed his gun at the woman, officers fired their weapons to prevent him from shooting.  Officers fired a total of six times at Mr. Johnson.

Officers immediately assessed both Mr. Johnson and the woman for their medical needs.  They summoned ambulances and emergency medical personnel from AMR and the El Cerrito Fire Department to begin rendering aid to both individuals.  Mr. Johnson suffered from a number of gunshot wounds and the woman suffered from head injuries.

Mr. Johnson was transported to the hospital, where he remains in custody and in critical condition.  The woman was also taken to the hospital and treated for her injuries.  She was released later in the evening.  Officers learned that Mr. Johnson was in a long-term relationship with the woman.

The El Cerrito Police Department plans to seek charges against Mr. Johnson for domestic battery, assault with a deadly weapon, illegal gun possession and attempted murder. 

The officers involved in the shooting have a combined eight years of law enforcement experience.

Ari Soglin (Editor) December 30, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Some news reports have indicated that two officers fired their guns, though that detail isn't specified in the news release police issued Saturday. The news release also refers to the eight years of combined experience of the officers involved but does not say how much experience they have individually. We asked police to clarify both points and received the following response from Lt. Steve Bonini: "I received your inquiry and the press release contains the information we have confirmed and are able to release at this time. As more information becomes available we will continue to keep everyone informed."
Betty Buginas December 30, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Ari, did he say how long it would take the department to figure out how that eight years is split up between the two officers?
Giorgio C. December 30, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Just curious, why is experience relevant to this incident? We usually raise this question when there is concern that protocol was not followed. In this case, an armed man pointed a gun at a woman after beating her. I'd say protocol was followed. Is there reason to believe otherwise? I thank these officers for putting their lives on the line for us each and every day.
Christina Slamon December 30, 2012 at 05:39 PM
I agree w Giorgio, it sounds to me like these two officers saved that woman's life. They are heroes and I don't really care how the 8 years is split between them. Nice job ECPD.
John Stashik December 30, 2012 at 06:14 PM
It appears to be very good shooting by the ECPD. I am glad they practice regularly as one never knows what the next call will bring.
Lisa Park December 30, 2012 at 06:42 PM
Thank you, Giorgio.
Heidi December 30, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Agreed. Well said, Giorgio. I'd rather run into these two "green" officers any day, as opposed to Mr. Michael Christopher Johnson, who probably has more than 8 years under his belt as a gun-toting, woman-abusing thug.
Giorgio C. December 30, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Every day, we read about how the police, as hard as they try, are not able to prevent tragedies committed by brutal killers. Susie Ko in Hercules, murdered by some thugs who previously shot an officer. The elderly woman in El Cerrito who was brutally attacked, and I believed succumbed to her injuries (please correct me if I am wrong). There was the poor man in the Berkeley Hills killed by an intruder--the police had a lot on their plate that day with the Occupy protests. A few years ago, just down the street from this recent El Cerrito incident, at a convenient store, an employee was brutally murdered while working the night shift. Possibly a hate crime. The police were not able to save the kids in Newtown. Or the firefighters in New York. And we read about police officers being killed in action all the time, including CHP Officer Youngstrom or the 4 Oakland officers killed in 2009. So now good prevails and we question it?
Ari Soglin (Editor) December 30, 2012 at 08:40 PM
I just spoke to Lt. Bonini who told me that two officers fired their weapons, that one of those officers has seven years of experience and the other has one year of experience. He praised the people at the scene who made the initial call and who guided officers when they arrived. "We are thankful that the community gave us a hand in this case," he said. When officers got to the scene, they could have gone in any of several locations and people were there to show the officers where the attack was happening, he said. He also noted that the case is being handled as a joint investigation between El Cerrito Police Department and the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office, a protocol that brings on an uninvolved impartial agency.
Ken Longo December 30, 2012 at 08:52 PM
hanspeter December 31, 2012 at 12:43 AM
I agree - what the heck is the cop supposed to do? Say, oh please, be nice, and stop pistol whipping her? Some of these comments are ridiculous. Ever think you could be in this woman's position? I guess not....
Giorgio C. January 01, 2013 at 03:56 AM
I must respectfully disagree with the assessment that the County DA is impartial. They are all law enforcement. Same team. Rookie officers should be accompanied by seasoned veterans for everyone's safety. If a police department has high turnover, resulting in the pairing of rookies with not-so-seasonded officers, then this would be a problem.
maurice skinner February 17, 2013 at 04:04 AM
where is michael christopher johnson now ? anyone knows out there
maurice skinner February 17, 2013 at 04:07 AM
where is michael christopher johnson know?


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