Four deputies responded to reports of suspicious activity at a Poway auto shop around 5 a.m. Witnesses reported seeing a prowler with a flashlight looking into vehicles.
After arriving at the scene, deputies quickly broadcast that shots had been fired.
According to SDSO Lt. Kenneth Nelson, the suspect then stole a patrol car and led deputies on a chase through Poway. At the intersection of Espola and Poway roads, the suspect jumped out of the stolen patrol car and carjacked the driver of an SUV at gunpoint.
Deputies caught up to the suspect at the intersection, and more shots were then fired before the man careened into a nearby ravine, according to Lt. Nelson. The man was found dead behind the wheel of the stolen SUV. It is too early to tell whether the suspect was injured during the exchange of gunfire, Lt. Nelson said.
The four deputies were not injured. The spokesman does not believe the deputies were wearing body cameras.
Several knives, a hatchet and loose ammunition were found with the suspect, according to Lt. Nelson. A gun believed to be the suspect's was found at the scene.
The suspect was described as a white man between 25 and 35 years old. His identity has not been released.
A SigAlert was issued. Authorities closed Poway Road between state Route 67 and Sunrise Ranch Road. The closure caused delays getting to schools in the area, including Poway High, Twin Peaks Middle and Garden Road Elementary.
"Law enforcement has asked that no school buses be in the area and no additional students should be brought to campus to limit the amount of people and traffic in the area," Garden Road Principal Gail West said in a statement. "For the students who are currently on campus, they will be fed and supervised by Garden Road staff until their regular pickup. They are safe and in no danger. "
It is not clear how long the road will be closed.