Suspect in deputy shootings transferred from hospital to jail

SAN DIEGO -- A suspected child molester who allegedly engaged law enforcement officers in a nearly 15-minute shootout at a Lakeside apartment one week ago, seriously wounding two sheriff's deputies, was released from a hospital Tuesday and transferred to jail to await trial.

Daniel Robert Witczak, 30, was discharged from Scripps Mercy Hospital in Hillcrest in the early evening and taken to the downtown San Diego Central Jail, according to sheriff's officials.

Witczak faces three counts of attempted murder of a peace officer in connection with the protracted exchange of gunfire near El Capitan High School.

About 12:15 p.m. last Tuesday, Sgt. Craig Johnson and Detective Ali Perez were shot by a high-powered rifle in front of Witczak's apartment in the 12700 block of Mapleview Street, where they had gone to question him about a report that he had sexually assaulted his live-in girlfriend's 6-year-old daughter, authorities said.

The out-of-work auto mechanic then allegedly got into gunbattle with other deputies who arrived in response to the gunfire. The assailant finally surrendered almost a quarter-hour later, after suffering several bullet wounds, officials said.

Medics took the severely wounded lawmen to Sharp Memorial Hospital, where they underwent emergency surgery. Johnson was released Friday to continue his recovery at home, while Perez remains in the trauma center.

More charges may be filed against Witczak, who was arraigned Thursday in his hospital room, after authorities finish investigating the child molestation allegations, according to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis.