Marine Arrested in Vista Standoff

Chris Johnson, 26, of Vista, surrendered to deputies just before 5 a.m.

A U.S. Marine was in custody Thursday following a 5-hour standoff with San Diego County sheriff's deputies which began after the Marine allegedly fired multiple gunshots from inside his Vista apartment.

Just before midnight on Christmas Day, deputies were called to an apartment complex located at 911 Taylor St., near East Vista Way.

A neighbor told deputies she heard shots fired inside her apartment and noticed a bullet hole in the window of her dining room. She also said she heard someone knocking on her door. Deputies told her not to open the door.

Deputies soon determined that Christopher Johnson, 26, of Vista, had allegedly fired multiple rounds from his .44 caliber magnum revolver handgun while inside his apartment.

Officials said Johnson fired the shots into his flat screen TV inside his living room. The rounds went through the television, then through a wall and out toward the neighborhood.

He then allegedly fired another round, possibly through his bedroom patio screen door, which traveled north into the neighborhood.

After that, officials said Johnson fired yet another round through his front door.

This time, the round exited the door and traveled through the closed window of a neighbor’s apartment, shattering the glass and busting through some window blinds. Deputies found fragments of that bullet on a small kitchen table inside the neighbor’s apartment.

Once officials arrived at the Vista apartment complex, they attempted to contact Johnson by phone and via loudspeaker, but received no response.

The Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Detail was called in for backup and an overnight standoff ensued.
Residents in at least three surrounding apartments were evacuated to the complex leasing office amid the SWAT action, as officials surrounded Johnson’s apartment unit.

Eventually – just before 5 a.m. – Johnson exited his apartment and surrendered to deputies. He was arrested without further incident, officials said. No one was injured in the standoff.

According to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, a number of handguns and rifles were seized from Johnson’s apartment as evidence. Officials said Johnson was intoxicated at the time of his arrest.

He was booked into the Vista Detention Facility for several counts of willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner. He’s scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Officials did not provide the suspect’s rank or details about where Johnson was based. A USMC spokesperson at Camp Pendleton could not confirm if the man arrested was a U.S. Marine or if he was based at Camp Pendleton.

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