The Southland community is in mourning for a fallen Los Angeles deputy following his tragic slaying on the evening of September 16.
30-year-old Los Angeles County Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a third-generation law enforcement officer who had recently gotten engaged, was fatally shot in an ambush while sitting in his patrol car at a red light near the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
The murder has sent shockwaves throughout the law enforcement community and beyond, prompting heartfelt condolences and calls for justice.
Deputy Clinkunbroomer, an eight-year veteran of the LASD, had served the Palmdale and Antelope Valley communities with distinction since transferring to the Palmdale station in July 2018.
According to colleagues, he was not just a dedicated officer but a cherished member of the community, embodying values of bravery, selflessness and a commitment to justice.
Sheriff Robert Luna, along with many others in the law enforcement community, expressed their grief and condolences.
“Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was 30 years old and an eight-year veteran of the LASD. He served the Palmdale and Antelope Valley communities with absolute distinction … Service was running through his veins,” the sheriff said.
Luna also called for witnesses to come forward, urging anyone with information to contact police.
“I want to let our community know Deputy Clinkunbroomer left his family tonight to serve our community,” Luna continued. “He laid everything on the line to serve us. He wore a uniform just like other LASD deputies wear, driving in a police car, and he was senselessly murdered tonight.”
Richard Pippin, vice president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, also lamented the loss, expressing his shock and the condemnation felt by the law enforcement community.
“Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer made the ultimate sacrifice while responding to the call of duty to safeguard our community. This devastating loss should remind everyone of our law enforcement officers’ unwavering dedication and selflessness, whether on or off duty. I request all Southern California residents’ collective thoughts and prayers as we support Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s grieving family,” Pippin said.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore shared a heartfelt message as well.
“Tonight, we pray. Blessed are the peacemakers,” Moore said.
Local law enforcement agencies, including the Los Angeles Police Department, Palmdale Sheriff’s Station and many others expressed their condolences and solidarity with LASD, denouncing the senseless act of violence.
California politicians also weighed in on the tragedy.
Governor Gavin Newsom and Acting Governor Eleni Kounalakis extended their sympathies, acknowledging Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s commitment to service and justice. They also expressed their desire to continually honor his legacy.
In the wake of the tragedy, Representative Mike Garcia (R-Santa Clarita) called for federal legislation to make it a felony to kill a law enforcement officer, with severe penalties, including life in prison or execution.
“I am beyond heartbroken, I’m beyond pissed off,” Garcia railed in a video statement. “I’m sure that we will find this evil son of a b— who killed this very special person, someone who was doing the right thing for our country, for our communities, and he’ll be brought to justice. But I want you to know that this is why we need to defend everyday our law enforcement, whether it’s LAPD, sheriffs or otherwise. These folks put their lives on the line on a daily basis.
Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s colleagues described him as a dedicated and smart officer, a “deputy’s deputy” who was on the path to becoming a detective.
He followed in his father’s footsteps, displaying the same likable and approachable personality.
Following the news, L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn ordered all county flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of the fallen deputy.
According to authorities, the tragic incident occurred as Deputy Clinkunbroomer sat at a traffic signal, with no apparent motive for the attack.
The mortally wounded officer was found by a passerby who alerted 9-1-1. Paramedics rushed the officer to a hospital, where he died.
Authorities said the perpetrator shot at the deputy from their vehicle as they drove past Clinkunbroomer in the opposite direction.
The suspect, 29-year-old Cataneo Salazar, was arrested September 18 after deputies tracked him to his home.
According to Sheriff Luna, the public provided valuable information that assisted deputies with the arrest.
A motive for the killing still remains unclear, but Salazar’s family said he has mental health issues.
Clinkunbroomer is survived by his fiancée, whom he had proposed to just four days before the incident.