4S RANCH — A sergeant with the San Diego Police Department was hospitalized and undergoing surgery today following a 4S Ranch-area shootout that left him wounded and an auto-theft suspect dead.
The exchange of gunfire took place late Thursday night in a parking lot at 4S Commons Town Center, a strip mall east of Interstate 15 and just north of Camino Del Norte, according to the county Sheriff’s Department, which investigates uses of lethal force on the part of SDPD personnel.
The police sergeant, whose name has not been released, suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was admitted to a trauma center in serious but stable condition, officials said. The suspect, whose identity also was not immediately available, was pronounced dead at a hospital early Friday morning.
The events that led to the deadly shootout began about 10 p.m. Thursday, when San Diego police received a report about a stolen vehicle, along with a description of the suspected thief, sheriff’s Lt. Joseph Jarjura said.
Roughly 90 minutes later, SDPD officers located the vehicle at the shopping center in the 10500 block of 4S Commons Drive.
A short time later, the suspect walked out of a store and started shooting at the police personnel, according to Jarjura. Officers returned fire, and the suspect collapsed, mortally wounded. San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit told reporters the involved officers “did a phenomenal job” in preventing the suspect from doing any further harm after wounding the lawman.
“Obviously we have a sergeant in the hospital – that makes me emotional,” he added. “But the officers did an amazing job tonight.”
Over the last year, criminals have wounded three SDPD officers with gunfire, and other sworn members of the department have been fired on but escaped injury during the same period, the police chief noted.
“Yes, we’re a large city, but we’ve not seen this kind of violence towards law enforcement in my 35-year career that I can remember,” Nisleit told news crews. “And you can tell I’m quite fed up with it, to be real honest with you.”