The 29-year-old man accused of killing a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy last week in an ambush has pleaded not guilty and not guilty by reason of insanity.
Kevin Cataneo Salazar is charged with murder with specific allegations relating to the shooting of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, who was waiting at a red light in his patrol car Saturday when he was attacked.
The deputy, who had gotten engaged just four days before he was killed, was found fatally wounded by a civilian around 6 p.m. near his sheriff’s station in Palmdale, about 60 miles north of Los Angeles, the deputy said. the police.
Cataneo Salazar has denied all specific allegations in the complaint, which accuses him of intentionally killing the deputy with a .22 caliber revolver “by means of a stand-by,” referring to an ambush-style killing.
Cataneo Salazar’s attorney, George Rosenstock, declined to comment on the case when contacted by CNN.
“Deputy Clinkunbroomer was a peace officer who was intentionally killed while in the line of duty,” the complaint against Cataneo Salazar states. It also states that the defendant “knew and reasonably should have known” that Clinkunbroomer was on duty as a law enforcement officer.
If convicted, the suspect would face a sentence of “life imprisonment without the possibility of parole,” according to Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón.
Judge Scott Yang ordered Cataneo Salazar to remain held without bail and issued a protective order upon discovery, preventing details of the case from being made public.
Cataneo Salazar’s mother and two sisters were in the observation room with the reporters. A sister seemed to be crying. It appears his mother was unable to see her son from the vantage point where she was seated and spent most of the hearing looking at the floor.
Nearly a dozen uniformed sheriff’s deputies sat in the jury box during the proceedings.
At a news conference later Wednesday, Clinkunbroomer’s fiancee, Brittany Lindsey, called the deputy “the best guy I’ve ever met.”
“He was so caring and caring and everyone who met him or knew him loved him. I’m so happy I was able to love it. It wasn’t long enough. I couldn’t wait to start our life together. We had just gotten engaged and were planning to get married and start a family,” Lindsey said through tears. “Ryan, I miss you and love you so much. I don’t know how to live without you and I never wanted to imagine it.
A preliminary hearing in the case was scheduled for Nov. 7 at 11:30 a.m.
Assistant District Attorney Michael Blake said during Wednesday’s news conference that police believe the suspect “purchased a firearm in the weeks before the crime” but did not provide further details.
The suspect’s sister, Jessica Salazar, publicly apologized for her brother’s actions and said he was not in the right state of mind.
“It wasn’t him. It was the illness. It was the disease that controlled him,” Salazar told CNN affiliate KABC.
Salazar said his brother was diagnosed with schizophrenia. “He would feel persecuted, voices would speak to him. He tried to kill himself once or twice,” she told KABC.
But the suspect’s mental health condition may not bring comfort to the deputy’s grieving family, Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said.
“Whether mental health is a factor or not, think about this: If I were to go to your family and tell them that you are not coming home and that you have just been murdered, is what the Does anyone or their condition matter? » Luna said.
Investigators will work to obtain medical records as they look into “unconfirmed information” that the suspect may have a mental health history, Assistant District Attorney David Ayvazian said Wednesday.
Clinkunbroomer was a beloved member of the sheriff’s department and “just starting his life,” Luna said. The deputy’s father and grandfather both served in the sheriff’s department, Luna said.