Pickup wreckage
The wreckage of the burglary suspect’s Toyota Tacoma pickup. Courtesy OnScene.TV

An auto-theft suspect was recovering Friday from gunshot wounds he suffered when he allegedly drove a stolen pickup truck toward sheriff’s deputies in a neighborhood near El Cajon, prompting one of them to open fire on him.

Brenten Kinzenbaw, 25, suffered bullet injuries to both of his legs in the shooting on Oro Street in the unincorporated Bostonia area, according to the San Diego Police Department, which investigates uses of lethal force by personnel with the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

The events that led to the law enforcement gunfire began about 10:30 p.m. Thursday, when a deputy spotted the stolen Toyota truck parked in the neighborhood just north of the intersection of Interstate 8 and North Second Street, SDPD Lt. Steve Shebloski said.

After the patrolman radioed for backup and more deputies arrived to assist, the personnel set up surveillance on the pickup, which had been stolen earlier in the day during a commercial burglary in Alpine.

“After approximately 90 minutes, and not seeing anyone by the vehicle, the deputies attempted to recover (it),” Shebloski said.

As they approached the truck on foot, the personnel realized that there was a man standing next its passenger side and another person — later identified as Kinzenbaw — inside it, behind the wheel.

When the deputies ordered the suspect to get out of the pickup, he refused, the lieutenant said.

After ignoring repeated commands to exit the vehicle, Kinzenbaw allegedly put its transmission in reverse and hit the gas, sending the truck crashing into a parked vehicle.

“The suspect then accelerated forward rapidly, almost striking the deputies and the pedestrian before (crashing the pickup into) a patrol vehicle,” Shebloski said.

One of the deputies then opened fired on the truck.

At that point the suspect, though wounded, sped off to the north, prompting a brief road chase that ended when the pursuing deputies lost sight of the truck.

A short time later, the fleeing suspect got into a solo wreck near the intersection of Greenfield Drive and North Second Street, a few blocks northeast of the site of the shooting, according to Shebloski.

“Shortly after the crash, a concerned citizen in the 1300 block of Arlington Place called police to report hearing a person in her backyard, possibly hiding in a shed,” the lieutenant said. “Deputies set up a perimeter on the yard and began to call the suspect out of the shed.”

Kinzenbaw soon emerged from the outbuilding and surrendered without further resistance. Paramedics took him to a hospital, where he was admitted for treatment of apparently non-life-threatening injuries.

No one else was hurt during the incident, the lieutenant said.

Kinzenbaw, a resident of Alpine, was arrested on suspicion of auto theft, evading police, hit-and-run, and  assault with a deadly weapon.

The deputy who shot the suspect has been employed by the Sheriff’s Department for about five years, according to the regional law enforcement agency. His identity was not released.

Updated at 6:03 p.m. March 10, 2023

–City News Service