Poway, CA - Suspicious Activity Call - San Diego Sheriff's Deputies Exchanged Gun Fire - Patrol Car Stolen - Car Jacks SUV - More Shots Fired - Crash - Dead Behind Wheel

August 18, 2016


A suspected carjacker who stole a deputy's patrol car and then a SUV in Poway early Thursday was found dead after crashing into a ravine following a pursuit in which shots were fired.

The chain of events began shortly before 5 a.m. when someone called the sheriff's department to report suspicious activity at an auto repair business in the 13900 block of Poway Road, sheriff's Lt. Kenneth Nelson told reporters at a morning briefing. It was unclear what happened as deputies arrived, but they reported that gunshots were fired within a couple minutes.

The suspect was somehow able to drive off in a deputy's patrol car and headed east on Poway Road. Nelson said the suspect ditched the patrol car at the intersection of Poway and Espola roads and carjacked a black SUV at gunpoint. Deputies caught up to the SUV shortly afterward, and gunfire again rang out, according to the lieutenant.

The SUV went off the roadside and down a ravine, and the suspect was found dead behind the wheel. Several knives, a hatchet and loose ammunition were found in the SUV, although a firearm was not immediately located, Nelson said.

Nelson said it was too early in the investigation to confirm whether the suspect was fatally shot by deputies, but confirmed the law enforcement officers did fire their weapons at two separate locations. An autopsy will determine how the suspect died. The four deputies involved were uninjured.

Authorities closed Poway Road between state Route 67 and Sunrise Ranch Road, and Espola Road approaching Poway Road, according to the California Highway Patrol. A SigAlert was in effect.

7:37 a.m. — A shooting involving a sheriff's deputy on Poway Rd. near Espola Rd. Thursday morning caused traffic delays for commuters as authorities continued to investigate two crime scenes.

Sheriff’s deputies were led by a suspect to 13000 block of Poway Rd. early Thursday where shots were reportedly fired. It is unclear what events led to the shooting and who fired but San Diego police were called to assist San Diego Sheriff’s and Poway police in their investigation.

The condition of the suspect is unknown but the Sheriff’s deputy is believed to be okay.

A SigAlert had been issued just after 5:30 a.m. Thursday as authorities closed Poway R.d between state Route 67 and Sunrise Ranch Rd., and Espola Rd. north of Poway Rd. for an unknown duration. Commuters were told to expect traffic delays and asked to avoid the area.

The city of Poway advised commuters traveling to Poway High School from south Poway to take Midland Rd. to Twin Peaks Rd. back to Espola Rd. to avoid closures.