In a shocking and deeply saddening turn of events, Los Angeles sheriff’s deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer lost his life in what has been described as a ‘targeted’ ambush while on duty.
This tragedy occurred just days after Clinkunbroomer had joyfully announced his engagement.
The suspect in this heinous act, Kevin Salazar, aged 29, was apprehended following a tense standoff with law enforcement at a residence in Palmdale on a Monday morning.
This arrest came a mere 36 hours after Deputy Clinkunbroomer, aged 30, was fatally shot.
Reward and Surveillance Footage
The pursuit of the suspect had intensified with authorities offering a substantial $250,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension.
To aid the investigation, grainy surveillance footage was released, capturing a dark-colored sedan pulling up alongside Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car moments before the fatal shooting.
Sheriff Robert Luna, during a press conference, announced the arrest and credited community leaders for providing crucial information about the suspect and his vehicle.
Motive Remains Unclear
While Sheriff Luna has expressed his belief that the shooting was a ‘targeted attack,’ the motive behind it remains uncertain.
It is unclear whether Deputy Clinkunbroomer personally or the department as a whole was the intended target.
In an emotional plea at a Sunday news conference, Luna implored anyone with information to come forward, stating, ‘Without warning, he was murdered while serving our community.
Please, I beg you. Somebody has information. Make things right.’ Investigators are focusing on a ‘vehicle of interest,’ described as a gray Toyota Corolla manufactured between 2006 and 2012.
The Tragic Encounter
The surveillance video shows Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car stopping at a red light, with a black sedan pulling up closely behind it.
After a brief pause, the sedan speeds away as the patrol car moves forward slightly and comes to a halt.
The incident occurred near the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q in Palmdale, where Deputy Clinkunbroomer was discovered by a ‘good Samaritan’ who alerted the sheriff’s station.
He was subsequently transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster but tragically succumbed to his gunshot wound.
Community Support and Tragic Loss
As the investigation unfolded, a vehicle matching the description of the ‘vehicle of interest’ was towed from a Palmdale neighborhood.
The resolve to bring the perpetrator to justice was evident in Sheriff Luna’s statement, as he declared, ‘We´re going to catch the person who did this.’
California governor Gavin Newsom expressed his shock and ordered flags at the state capitol to be flown at half-staff in honor of Deputy Clinkunbroomer.
A Legacy of Service and Grief
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who joined the Palmdale station in July 2018, was a third-generation officer, following in the footsteps of his grandfather and father in the sheriff’s department.
His dedication to community and country was lauded by Governor Newsom, who remarked, ‘Deputy Clinkunbroomer´s devotion to community and country will never be forgotten.’
Mayor Laura Bettencourt echoed this sentiment, condemning the act as that of a ‘coward’ and expressing the city’s support for the deputies.
Remembering a Hero
The tragic loss of Deputy Clinkunbroomer, with his eight years of experience in law enforcement, resonated deeply within the sheriff’s department.
As a field training officer, he had trained and supervised other officers and had reportedly dropped off a trainee at the station just before the fatal incident.
The procession in his honor, stretching from Lancaster to the Coroner’s Office in Boyle Heights, bore witness to the respect and solidarity of the law enforcement community.
Colleagues and fellow officers left heartfelt messages honoring their fallen comrade, remembering him as a dedicated and compassionate individual.
In the words of Palmdale’s Sheriff Station, ‘Rest easy, our Hero, our friend, we’ll take it from here.’