The incident happened shortly after 11 p.m. Thursday near Gilbert Street and Malvern Avenue.
Investigators said officers tried to pull over a driver who was running through stop signs in a residential area. The driver didn't stop, prompting a chase that reached speeds of 90 mph.
When the car crashed into a drainage ditch, two men ran away. Authorities said one of them opened fire on officers, so they fired back, killing the man. His identity was not immediately released. A weapon was recovered at the scene.
The other suspect, Diego Figueroa, 22, was arrested. Investigators said he is connected to a crime that happened in Fullerton two years ago.
"We have since determined that he is a listed suspect in a current homicide investigation that we are investigating from 2010 that involved a drive-by shooting," said Capt. Lorraine Jones of the Fullerton Police Department.