Law enforcement authorities in Los Angeles have apprehended a suspect in connection with the shocking murder of Deputy Sheriff Ryan Clinkunbroomer, who was ambushed and fatally shot during a routine traffic stop in Palmdale, California.
This brutal incident had prompted a reward of $250,000 for any information leading to the perpetrator’s capture.
The tragic incident unfolded on Saturday evening when Deputy Clinkunbroomer, 30, was shot while sitting in his patrol car at a red light, just outside a sheriff’s station in Palmdale, located approximately 90 kilometers (55 miles) northeast of Los Angeles.
Following an intensive manhunt, a 29-year-old individual was taken into custody early on Monday after barricading himself inside a residence in Palmdale for several hours before ultimately surrendering to law enforcement, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna during a press conference.
The arrested suspect has been identified as Kevin Cataneo Salazar, a resident of Palmdale. Authorities have yet to establish a clear motive for the murder, with Sheriff Luna describing the situation as “fluid” and suggesting the possibility of additional arrests.
Sheriff Luna expressed confidence in the arrest, stating, “I feel extremely confident that we have the right person in custody.” He also added, “Our deputy was in uniform in a marked black-and-white police vehicle right in front of the station. Why did he do this? I have no idea. Was he targeted? I’m assuming he was, but our intent is to find out.”
The suspect’s mother, Marle Salazar, informed the Los Angeles Times that her son had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia around five years ago. She mentioned, “My son is mentally ill, and if he did something, he wasn’t in his full mental capacity.”
Deputy Clinkunbroomer was attacked immediately after leaving the Palmdale sheriff’s station. A vigilant passerby witnessed the incident and alerted station personnel. Subsequently, the department released grainy surveillance footage showing a dark sedan pulling up alongside the patrol car just moments before the fatal shooting.
Early Monday morning, a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team from the Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau executed a search warrant at the suspect’s residence. After urging all occupants to exit the premises, family members complied, but the suspect barricaded himself inside. Law enforcement personnel engaged in negotiations and utilized de-escalation techniques before resorting to “chemical agents” to facilitate the suspect’s surrender, as reported by Sheriff Luna. Details regarding the weapons seized during the operation were not disclosed.
Marle Salazar revealed that she had contacted law enforcement on multiple occasions in the past, seeking assistance when her son refused to take prescribed medication and displayed aggressive behavior towards himself. She expressed her frustration with the response, stating, “I have called the police several times. In the end, they would say, ‘He’s an adult, so if he doesn’t want to take [his medication], we can’t do anything’.”
The investigation into this tragic incident continues, with authorities determined to uncover the circumstances surrounding Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s untimely death.