San Diego Sheriff's cruiser
A San Diego Sheriff’s cruiser. Photo by Chris Stone

A vandalism suspect was wounded Tuesday when at least one deputy opened fire on him after he grabbed what appeared to be a rifle behind a home in Vista.

The events that led to the law enforcement shooting began shortly before 12:30 p.m., when a 911 caller reported that a man had slashed two tires on his car outside a 7-Eleven in the 1500 block of North Santa Fe Avenue, according to the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

By the time patrol personnel arrived at the business, the suspect was gone. Witnesses pointed them in the direction in which he had fled, and deputies set up a perimeter and began searching the neighborhood.

About a half-hour later, deputies found the suspect a short distance to the east of the convenience store, armed with a knife in the backyard of a residence in the 1500 block of Kiva Lane.

As the deputies tried to get the man to drop the weapon and surrender peaceably, he picked up a long-barreled pellet gun resembling a rifle, at which point he was shot.

Paramedics took the wounded man, who was conscious and talking following the shooting, to a hospital. His condition and name were not immediately available.

Deputies shut down traffic lanes in the area to allow investigators to gather evidence. The road closures remained in effect in the early evening.