San Diego

A Southeast San Diego man was freed by a judge Monday after spending nearly seven months in custody for his part in a fracas with police in a hospital parking lot.

Superior Court Judge Herbert Exarhos placed Michael Baker, 23, on five years’ probation in connection with the March 6 incident at UCSD Medical Center.

Baker had pleaded guilty to assaulting San Diego Police Officer James Morrison in the melee, which broke out after the fatal shooting of an alleged drug dealer by an undercover policeman during a drug bust.

Johnny Omario Douglas, 29, of San Diego, was taken to UCSD after he was shot in the head in what police said was the accidental discharge of the officer’s gun while wrestling with the resisting victim in the 2900 block of Imperial Avenue.


Dozens of the victim’s friends and relatives who had gathered outside the hospital began fighting with officers in the parking lot when the victim’s sister came outside and said her brother was dead.

Morrison and three other officers were injured in the incident, and several police cars were vandalized before more officers arrived to gain control of the situation.

A coroner’s autopsy determined that Douglas had been shot at close range. There were no known witnesses other than the officers involved. The officer involved in the shooting, Steven Hutchinson, was exonerated of wrongdoing by the Police Department and Dist. Atty. Edwin Miller Jr.