A suspect in the deadly ambush of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was arrested early Monday morning, a day and a half after the deputy was fatally shot in the head.
Clinkunbroomer was killed Saturday outside the Palmdale sheriff’s station. An unidentified person of interest in the homicide case has been arrested, the department confirmed around 6:15 a.m. Monday. The ministry held a press conference at 10:30 a.m. Pacific Time to provide an update.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators were “extremely confident” that they had the right person in custody. Even with that confidence, Luna urged anyone with information to contact authorities to aid the investigation.
Luna said the person of interest is officially a suspect in the murder and no other suspects are being sought. Luna identified the suspect as Palmdale resident Kevin Salazar, 29.
“Thirty-six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested him early this morning,” Luna said.
Information provided by community members led investigators to identify the suspect and locate the vehicle used in the killing, Luna said. No motive has yet been determined, Luna said.
The Sheriff’s Department previously said Deputy Clinkunbroomer had just left the Palmdale station and was sitting at a red light at the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q around 6 p.m. Saturday when he was found slumped over the wheel of his patrol vehicle by a good Samaritan. .
“He was in uniform, sitting in a marked black and white Los Angeles County Sheriff’s vehicle, waiting for a red light,” Sheriff Luna said. “Our deputy never even had a chance.”
The victim was identified as Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who was rushed to Antelope Valley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was 30 years old.
“We are going to arrest the person who did this,” the sheriff said at a news conference Saturday evening. “Every resource available to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department is coming after you.”
Investigators are analyzing video that shows a sedan slowly pulling up behind an LASD vehicle around the time the shooting occurred before speeding away, Luna said.
At a news conference Sunday, the sheriff said the vehicle of interest was a dark gray 2006-2012 Toyota Corolla.
“We really need your help. We need to get this guy off the street,” Luna said. “He ambushed and killed – murdered – one of our deputies. We need your help to get him off the streets.”
The sheriff further noted that Clinkunbroomer had spent approximately eight years with the department and was transferred to the Palmdale station in July 2018. He had been serving as a field training officer for nearly two years, Luna said .
“Not just anyone becomes a field training officer,” Luna said. “It’s usually the best of the best.”
Clinkunbroomer was a third-generation LASD member, behind his father and grandfather.
“Service was in his blood,” the sheriff said.
He had just gotten engaged to his girlfriend four days ago, the sheriff said. Clinkunbroomer leaves behind his fiancée, his parents and his grandparents.
“He didn’t deserve this,” Luna said emotionally. “It’s so unfair. We’re hurting because we lost someone. It hurts a lot. It sucks, to put it bluntly. Our thoughts are absolutely with his family.”
Sheriff Luna has not released details about the investigation because it is in its early stages. He says as soon as new information comes to light, the public will be alerted.
In a procession early Sunday morning, hundreds of law enforcement officers escorted Clinkunbroomer’s body to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.
Much of the street outside the station was surrounded by crime scene tape. An LASD vehicle was also recorded outside the hospital where the deputy was taken after he was discovered in the patrol car.
“Someone saw something. Someone knows something,” Luna said. “There is a family here in this hospital grieving an unimaginable loss. We need your help.”
Politicians, law enforcement officials and community leaders have turned to social media tothroughout the day Sunday, and flags at the State Capitol and Capitol Annex Swing Space were flown at half-staff.
At Sunday’s press conference, County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said she would seek $100,000 for a reward to locate the suspect or suspect involved, which Palmdale Mayor Laura Bettencourt said declared that the city would match. Richard Pippin, president of the Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs’ Association, also pledged an additional $50,000.
Clinkunbroomer was honored in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station Sunday evening at 7 p.m. with a candlelight vigil.
Anyone with information or who may have witnessed the incident is asked to contact homicide investigators at (323) 890-5500.