Palmdale Man Arrested in Ambush Killing of LASD Deputy; Suspect’s Family Blames Mental Illness

A man accused of ambushing a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, killing him with a shot to the head as he sat inside his patrol vehicle, was arrested early Monday, Sept. 18, after an hours-long standoff at his home in Palmdale, Sheriff Robert Luna said.

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While Luna described the suspect — Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29 — as a “coward” who likely targeted the deputy, 30-year-old Ryan Clinkunbroomer, because he was in law enforcement, Salazar’s family said the man was suffering from mental health issues.

“My brother did have schizophrenia,” said Yessica Salazar, the suspect’s sister, outside the family’s Palmdale house on Monday. “He had paranoia. He heard voices.”

She said the family had taken Kevin Salazar to the hospital before and tried to get him help. She said while his mental health issues did not justify the shooting and that she was praying for Clinkunbroomer’s family, she said her family wanted to give their side of the suspect’s story.

“Please don’t judge him as if he was a regular person,” Yessica Salazar said. “He is sick.”

Since Clinkunbroomer was found fatally injured inside his vehicle just steps from the Palmdale sheriff’s station on Saturday, Sept. 16, Luna and other officials have been searching both for the person behind the killing as well as the reason why they attacked the deputy.

Deputies surrounded Salazar’s home in the 37600 block of Barrinson Street starting in the early morning hours of Monday. After his family went outside, Salazar barricaded himself in the home and refused to leave, Luna said. At around 5 a.m., deputies fired tear gas inside the home, prompting Salazar to finally come out.

Los Angeles County jail records show he was arrested at 5:15 a.m. He was being held without bail. A law enforcement source, who asked not to be identified because they were not authorized to publicly discuss the case, said Salazar would be charged sometime in the next two days and was expected to appear in an Antelope Valley courtroom by Wednesday.

After Salazar was arrested, Luna said deputies found “numerous firearms” inside the home.

Salazar allegedly pulled up alongside Clinkunbroomer at around 6 p.m. Saturday after the deputy stopped his patrol vehicle briefly just outside the Palmdale Sheriff Station. Luna said Salazar suddenly opened fire on Clinkunbroomer, hitting him in the head, then sped off.

Luna said Salazar was the only suspect. He said someone came forward to the department to identify him Sunday after Luna spoke to the media. Earlier Monday, Luna said investigators were still trying to determine what led Salazar to allegedly shoot Clinkunbroomer. The sheriff heavily implied the deputy was targeted because he was a member of law enforcement.

“He was in a marked black and white, right in front of this station,” Luna said.

Neighbors who witnessed the standoff Monday morning described the scene as chaotic, with police vehicles and deputies suddenly packing their street before the sun came up.

Wilbur Cardona, who lives next door, said deputies evacuated him and his family.

“There was a lot of police activity over here, a lot of people with guns,” Cardona said. “It was scary.”

Cardona was familiar with Kevin Salazar, describing him as “a good person.”

“I would suspect nothing like that,” he said. “I wouldn’t see him doing such a thing.”

Clinkunbroomer worked for the Sheriff’s Department for eight years, serving at the Palmdale station since July 2018.

Clinkunbroomer, who went by “Clink” at the Palmdale Sheriff’s station where he’d worked since 2018, was described as caring deeply about his community.

“I could just see this light inside him,” said Raymond Wilson, 58, at a vigil held for Clinkunbroomer on Sunday. “He held this community in such regard and you could tell he wanted to make it even better. Safer.”

Clinkunbroomer was a third-generation member of law enforcement — both his father and grandfather also were deputies with the Sheriff’s Department. Family and coworkers said Clinkunbroomer had gotten engaged just four days before his death.

Click here to read the full article in the Press Enterprise

Comments

  1. What will it take for Kommiefornia to start putting death sentence prisoners to death?

  2. Until that happens….. this lunacy continues!!!

  3. Otis R. Needleman says

    Doubt much will happen to the killer, even if he is prosecuted. Maybe six months’ probation. No faith in the ‘justice system’. Sad!

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