A person of interest has been arrested in the ambush shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the head near the Palmdale police station Saturday evening, police sources said at the Times.
Few details were available, but authorities have launched a massive manhunt since the brazen killing, which was captured on surveillance video.
The video shows Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer steering his patrol vehicle onto Sierra Highway and stopping at a red light in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. Clinkunbroomer wore a sheriff’s uniform and patrolled the desert community of Palmdale, just north of Los Angeles.
Seconds later, a dark gray Toyota Corolla can be seen pulling up behind the marked black and white patrol vehicle and stopping, in security video shared with the Times.
The sedan then moves to the driver’s side of the cruiser. He pauses again, then speeds up. Clinkunbroomer’s vehicle drifts a foot or two.
In those seconds, authorities said, the deputy was shot in the head. He died from his injuries a few hours later. Clinkunbroomer was 30 years old.
Investigators worked through the night and day Sunday to review evidence, including surveillance footage, and interview potential witnesses. Law enforcement officials at the local, state and federal levels have offered to help. On Sunday, they cited the dark-colored Corolla, manufactured between 2006 and 2012, as a “vehicle of interest.”
The suspect was arrested after the vehicle description was released and authorities received a tip, two law enforcement sources who were not authorized to discuss the case told the Times Monday.
No motive for the killing has been revealed. But sources said detectives were investigating whether the person concerned suffered from mental problems.
Sheriff Robert Luna on Sunday called the killing a “targeted act” and said Clinkunbroomer could have been killed because he worked for law enforcement.
“Someone decided to shoot and murder him, I guess at this point, because he was in uniform,” Luna said.
A passerby found the deputy unconscious in his vehicle at Avenue Q and Sierra Highway around 6 p.m., officials said. Fellow deputies took him in critical condition to Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, and he died as medics attempted to treat his gunshot wound.
Clinkunbroomer joined the department eight years ago and had been based at the Palmdale station since 2018. For the past 18 months, he worked as a field training officer, a position that Luna said was reserved for ” best of the best.” Clinkunbroomer’s family was steeped in law enforcement and he was the third generation to work for the sheriff’s department.
Luna said that four days before his death, the deputy proposed to his fiancée.
“His father served with us. His grandfather served with us,” Luna said. “He had so much ahead of him, and this coward or cowards committed suicide while he was sitting at a red light, waiting to serve his community.”
“He had a good heart,” said a colleague in the sheriff’s department who spoke to The Times on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. “No one has anything bad to say about him because he treated people and the public with respect.”
Los Angeles Times