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Suspect Shot by El Cerrito Police Arrested After Release from Hospital —With a 4-Day Gap

The hospital reportedly failed to notify the El Cerrito Police Department of the suspect's release after weeks of treatment for gunshot wounds.

Christopher Michael Johnson, the man shot by El Cerrito police last December while he was allegedly attacking a woman on San Pablo Avenue, was taken into custody in Lake County on Tuesday, Feb. 19, several days after he was released from an East Bay hospital, an El Cerrito Police Department spokesman said today.

Detective Sgt. Scott Cliatt said the hospital released Johnson, 48, of Richmond on Feb. 15 without notifying the ECPD as previously arranged. Johnson had been hospitalized since the shooting on Dec. 27, 2012, for treatment of several gunshot wounds. Johnson was in critical condition for a portion of that time.

Johnson is now in the custody of the Contra Costa Sheriff's Department and is being held on a $2.1 million warrant, Cliatt said.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's office had filed attempted homicide and domestic battery charges with firearms enhancements against Johnson soon after the Dec. 27 incident, Cliatt said.

"Due to the nature of his medical condition, Mr. Johnson was not suitable for incarceration and was not released from the hospital" following the shooting, Cliatt said.

"A warrant was issued for his arrest on January 14th, 2013. Service of the warrant was pending his release from medical treatment. Arrangements were made with the hospital to notify the El Cerrito Police Department when Mr. Johnson was cleared for release.   

"Mr. Johnson was released on February 15th, 2013 from the hospital without the El Cerrito Police Department being notified."

The detective assigned to the case learned of Johnson's release on the morning of Feb. 19 and learned that the suspect was in Lake County, Cliatt said.

The arrest was coordinated with the Lake County Sherif's Office and Johnson was taken into custoday that afternoon, he said.

Johnson was shot six times by El Cerrito police during the Dec. 27 incident, according to earlier reports.

That evening, the ECPD received 911 calls from local residents reporting a disturbance and a woman yelling for help behind the Chevron gas station at the corner of San Pablo and Potrero avenues, a police spokesman said in December.

When officers arrived, they found Johnson hitting a woman in the head with a pistol, police said.

Johnson ignored orders from the officers to stop his attack and pointed his gun at the woman, police said. At that point, the officers fired to prevent Johnson from shooting the woman, they said.

The woman was taken to a hospital, treated for head injuries and released later that evening, police said.

Officers learned that Johnson was in a long-term relationship with the woman, they said.

Christina Slamon February 22, 2013 at 06:18 PM
Can't anyone do a job right anymore??? Thanks to the EC Police for staying on top of this. Shame on that hospital for putting us all at risk and not doing their jobs!
Borris Batanov February 22, 2013 at 06:41 PM
Name of hospital is conspicuously absent.
Alvin Mabuhay March 16, 2013 at 01:43 AM
Interesting timeline from the original message thread. Notice the date: maurice skinner 2:53 pm on Sunday, February 17, 2013 the attacker was never chaged with any crime so he a free man he's no longer in the hospital. Apparently M. Skinner knew of the suspect's release 2 days before the police. Another person commented that he was living large in Clear Lake (which turned out to be true). If a violent criminal suspect was released without prior police notification, at minimum, someone's head should roll, but an investigation should probe whether or not aiding and abetting is applicable.

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