HomeTop StoriesMurder investigation underway after LASD officer was shot and killed in Palmdale

Murder investigation underway after LASD officer was shot and killed in Palmdale

The man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was jailed without bail and awaits word on possible criminal charges, while his family insisted he is not a “coward,” as the sheriff called him , but is mentally ill. and not in his right mind.

Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, was arrested early Monday morning at his family’s home in Palmdale after an hours-long standoff with police and a manhunt that began Saturday evening, shortly after the killing of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer near the department’s Palmdale station.

Clinkunbroomer, a 30-year-old third-generation sheriff’s deputy who was only recently engaged to be married, was shot Saturday around 6 p.m. while sitting in his patrol car at a stoplight near the station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q. Video At the scene a dark-colored sedan is seen pulling up behind the patrol SUV, then slowly driving past the driver’s side of the officer’s vehicle, pausing briefly and then driving away.

Sheriff’s officials said a good Samaritan stopped to render aid after the shooting and the injured deputy was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center in serious condition. He was pronounced dead that night.

Early Monday morning, sheriff’s deputies in tactical gear and armored vehicles responded to Salazar’s family home, setting off a standoff that ultimately ended when Special Enforcement Bureau personnel washed him down with “chemical agents,” Sheriff Robert Luna said at a press conference on Monday.

Luna said “numerous firearms” were also recovered after the arrest, and officers seized a dark-colored sedan believed to be linked to the killing.

“Thirty-six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested him early this morning,” Luna said Monday. A dark-colored sedan that appeared to match police’s description of the Toyota Corolla sheriff driving next to Clinkunbroomer’s patrol vehicle at the time of the shooting was also towed from the suspect’s home.

Salazar was being held without bail at the Twin Towers Jail in downtown Los Angeles. Pending a decision on charges by the Public Prosecution Service, he would provisionally appear in court in Lancaster. The Los Angeles Times reported, citing unnamed law enforcement sources, that Salazar had confessed to the murder.

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Luna said Clinkunbroomer was “murdered, ambushed by a coward.” But Salazar’s mother and sister told reporters that he is mentally ill.

“My brother, he’s been called a coward,” Salazar’s sister, Jessica, told reporters on Monday. “He wasn’t in the right state of mind.”

“I want you to know that my brother had schizophrenia,” she said. “He has paranoia. He heard voices. We don’t justify it, we don’t know if he did that (the shooting), or if he didn’t. We don’t justify anything. We sympathize with the family. It hurts.
“No one wants to experience that. There are many people who know. Family members with the same situation will understand how difficult it is to want to help a loved one and know that their mind is not in the right state. mind.”

She said her family is praying for the Clinkunbroomer family, but added there are “two sides to the story.” ‘Please don’t punish him like he’s an ordinary person. He is sick,” she said.

Luna’s mother, Marle Salazar, also told reporters that her son was mentally ill and had stopped taking his medications, but they couldn’t get him the help he needed. She told the Los Angeles Times that the family called deputies at least twice because he refused to take his medication, but she was told there was nothing they could do.

She also told the newspaper that her son was never violent or aggressive towards anyone else, but tried to kill himself twice because of the persistent voices he heard in his head. She said her son was acting normally at home Saturday evening after the shooting occurred.

Salazar even attended a vigil outside the Palmdale sheriff’s station Sunday night in honor of the slain deputy.

It was unclear whether Salazar’s mental state would have any impact on a criminal case against him. Luna said at a press conference on Monday that it should make no difference.

“Whether mental health is a factor or not, think about this. If I had to go to your family and tell them that you weren’t coming home and that you just got killed, does it matter?” Luna said.

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Also Monday, Luna praised the professionalism shown by officers involved in the barricade situation that led to Salazar’s arrest, despite knowing the man may have killed one of their own.

“Those special enforcement agents took the time to try to de-escalate this and take this individual into custody peacefully, knowing that our deputy was not given the same opportunity,” Luna said.

“He never gave our deputy a chance, yet our men and women gave this individual the opportunity to peacefully take him into custody. That’s the difference between professionals and individuals who target not only community members but, more importantly, law enforcement officers. the street.”

Luna said a motive for the killing remains a mystery. “We don’t know yet, but we plan to find out,” the sheriff said. He said tips from the public led investigators to Salazar. The Times reported that a man who had allegedly been involved in a confrontation with Salazar on the road was among those who contacted authorities.

At Monday’s news conference, Luna read a statement from Clinkunbroomer’s family. “Our son Ryan was a dedicated, hardworking deputy sheriff who enjoyed working here at the Palmdale station,” the family said. “He took pride in working with his partners whom he considered brothers and sisters, while sacrificing daily to improve the community he served. Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice. Ryan recently got engaged to the love of his life. As our firstborn son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the police force as a whole. Please keep Ryan’s family, friends and colleagues in your prayers and respect everyone’s privacy during our time of mourning.”

Luna has once again called on residents who may have information about the shooting to come forward.

“I want to emphasize that our investigators are still actively working on this case,” he said. “There is more information that we probably don’t know at this time. Every piece of evidence, everything we have, will be analyzed and I want to emphasize to our community that while we are extremely confident that we have the right (person) while I am in custody, I am still asking people to come forward and give us any information they think they have.

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“Why? Because the arrest is only part of this. We must now prosecute this person to the full extent of the law, and we need the public’s continued help and support in doing so.”

Anyone who witnessed anything related to the shooting was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).

In response to the killing, several agencies announced Sunday that they were offering rewards for information leading to the killer. The county and city of Palmdale each offered $100,000, while ALADS put up another $50,000 in reward money.

Last week, Clinkunbroomer’s mother, Kim Etzel Clinkunbroomer, posted several photos of her son on Instagram with the message, “We are so excited to expand our family. Congratulations to our son Ryan and his fiancée Brittany.”

The last Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy to be shot and killed in the line of duty was Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, a 29-year department veteran who worked out of the Lancaster station and was shot while investigating a reported burglary on October 5, 2016.

Deputy Alejandro Martinez died on July 28, several months after he was struck by a wrong-way vehicle while training with dozens of colleagues near the sheriff’s STARS Explorer Academy law enforcement training center in Whittier in November 2022. The driver, 22 year-old Nicholas Joseph Gutierrez of Diamond Bar told reporters he fell asleep at the wheel.

Deputy Steve Belanger died on February 6, 2018 from a gunshot wound suffered on December 10, 1994, when he was ambushed during a traffic stop in the 18400 block of La Guardia Street in Rowland Heights. Doctors were unable to remove the bullet from Belanger’s brain, and he remained under constant medical care, confined to a wheelchair until his death.

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