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Man pleads guilty to assault, other charges in Gaslamp shooting that wounded to bystanders

A man who opened fire in the Gaslamp Quarter last summer and shot two bystanders pleaded guilty Tuesday to assault with a firearm and other charges.

Johnza Watson, 25, is slated to be sentenced Jan. 31 in San Diego Superior Court to 15 years and six months in state prison for the shooting, which happened near the intersection of Fifth Avenue and F Street on June 24.

In addition to assault, Watson also admitted to attempted voluntary manslaughter for shooting at the intended victim, and to robbery for an unrelated theft that took place the following week.

Prosecutors allege that during an 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 chest, the other was shot in the hand. 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 a week later after a man was robbed — an incident that also happened in the Gaslamp. 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 cellphone and wallet were taken.

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