RIALTO Coach who was shot may face criminal charges
RIALTO: Coach who was shot may face criminal charges
San Bernardino police are preparing to submit a criminal complaint to prosecutors against a Rialto basketball coach who says he was shot on his way to a park bathroom.
San Bernardino Police Chief Robert Handy said Friday that detectives plan to submit a case against Eisenhower basketball coach Steve Johnson to the San Bernardino County district attorney’s office. Police are conducting a separate investigation into the shooting.
Since the shooting, Handy said detectives have learned information, independent of Johnson, about what he was doing at the park.
Handy said Johnson may have involved in potential criminal behavior, but declined to elaborate.
“He was less than truthful and withheld information that would have been helpful in solving the case,” Handy said. “We believe there were some details he intentionally withheld.”
Police are still investigating the shooting and robbery that left Johnson shot four times Jan. 22 at Seccombe Lake Park in San Bernardino. The park is notorious for gangs and criminal activity.
Police do not question that he was a shooting victim, Handy said.
“He was still the victim of a violent crime,” Handy said.
No arrests have been made.
Johnson, 47, of Yucaipa, told police he was driving from the Cal State San Bernardino area into the south end of the city to buy gas when he decided to stop at the park to use the restroom.
While sitting in his car at the park, Johnson said he was confronted by a group of three men who demanded his wallet. At least one of the robbers shot at him, hitting him four times.
Police said Johnson drove to the police station while bleeding to report he had been shot in an attempted robbery. Police summoned an ambulance to take Johnson to Loma Linda University Medical Center.
Since the shooting, detectives have interviewed Johnson several times. Each time, he has told the same story of events.
But Handy said parts of his story are difficult to believe and don’t add up. Johnson has not been forthright during the investigation, Handy said.
“We don’t believe we have all of the facts,” Handy said. “A lot of his story didn’t add up or make sense.”
The investigation into Johnson’s statements is nearly complete, but police do not have a timeline for when the case may be submitted to prosecutors, Handy said.
District attorney’s officials could not be reached Friday afternoon.
John Asbury can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org