San Diego Superior Court. Photo by Chris Stone

A man who allegedly fired a gun as protesters demonstrated last summer outside San Diego Mayor Todd Gloria’s home pleaded not guilty Thursday to one felony count.

Lonnie James Crawford, 37, faces charges of negligently discharging a gun and unlawful possession of a firearm and a controlled substance. He faces four years and eight months in prison if convicted of all counts.

Crawford was arrested on the night of Aug. 30 for allegedly firing at least one shot in the air near a group of protesters who had gathered outside Gloria’s Mission Hills house to protest the city’s homelessness policies.

According to the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office, Crawford drove his truck through the crowd of demonstrators, then entered an apartment building in the area.

He later allegedly came out with a gun and fired at least one shot. No one was struck by the gunfire.

“These felony charges reflect the seriousness of the defendant’s actions and the danger he posed to the protesters who were clearly victimized by his actions,” said San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan. “I want to be clear that everyone’s right to protest peacefully must be safeguarded and anyone who harms that right through illegal conduct will face consequences.”

– City News Service

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