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Wounded deputy released from San Diego hospital, second remains

Court personnel surrounding Daniel Witczak at his hospital arraignment Thursday.

One of the San Diego sheriff's deputies wounded in Tuesday's gun battle with a child-abuse suspect has been released from the hospital, but the other remains in the intensive care unit.

Sgt. Craig Johnson was released Friday from Sharp Memorial Hospital, where he underwent emergency surgery. Det. Ali Perez, more severely wounded, remains in the ICU.

The accused gunman, 30-year-old Daniel Witczak, remains under guard at Scripps Mercy Hospital, where he was arraigned Thursday and pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder. He is being held without bail.

Johnson and Perez were wounded when they went to Witczak's apartment in Lakeside to question him about allegations that he molested his girlfriend's two young daughters. Witczak opened fire with a high-powered rifle, touching off a 15-minute gun battle, in which he and the two deputies were wounded, investigators said.

On Friday, Sheriff Bill Gore praised the bravery of "several responding deputies [who] rushed toward the apartment in an effort to not only rescue their fallen comrades, but keep others from harm."

Gore added, "I have never been more proud to be their sheriff than I am today."

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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Court personnel surrounding Daniel Witczak at his hospital arraignment Thursday. Credit: Eduardo Contreras / UT-San Diego

 
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