Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna speaks at a news conference, where he announces the arrest of a suspect for the murder of deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, outside the Palmdale Sheriff's Station in Palmdale, Calif., on Sept. 18, 2023. (Facebook/Screenshot via The Epoch Times)
Following tips from the community and a tense standoff early Sept. 18, police arrested a 29-year-old Palmdale man 36 hours after the ambush-style murder of a Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy, according to Sheriff Robert Luna.
“Although we are extremely confident that we have the right person in custody, I am still asking people to come forward and give us any piece of information that they believe they have,” Mr. Luna said in a press conference Monday morning. “The arrest is only one part of this. We need to get this individual prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and we need the public’s help in doing that.”
Deputies served a warrant at the residence of Kevin Cataneo Salazar on Barrinson Street, the sheriff said. Video from the standoff shows tactical SWAT vehicles and heavily armed officers in front of the suspect’s home.
Officers surrounded the residence and demanded occupants leave, and family members “eventually” came out, but the suspect barricaded himself in the home for more than two hours, according to the sheriff.
Negotiators and special enforcement deputies worked to coax the suspect out, and after several hours with no success, chemical agents were deployed through windows—resulting in Mr. Salazar exiting the home and surrendering, the sheriff said.
“Our deputies gave this suspect an opportunity to peacefully give up,” Mr. Luna said. “That is not the right given to our deputy three days ago across the street.”
In addition to the vehicle of interest, “numerous firearms” were seized by authorities, though no details regarding the weapon used in the crime or ballistic information was provided, as detectives are actively working on the investigation, the sheriff said during the nearly 30-minute-long press conference.
“After debriefing with homicide investigators … I feel extremely confident that we have the right person in custody,” Mr. Luna said. “This is still a very fluid investigation, there could be more arrests, but right now, we believe we have the murderer of our deputy in custody.”
One county official spoke of the impact such a crime has on law enforcement and the sense of security felt by residents.
“This was an attack on the law enforcement community, an attack on public safety, an attack on law-abiding residents in Los Angeles County who believe in and support law and order,” Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles County Supervisor, said in the press conference. “We need to send a clear message that this type of cowardly attack is not going to be tolerated.”
Given the nature of the crime—with a uniformed deputy killed while on duty in front of the sheriff’s station, the “why” behind the crime remains unclear.
“Crimes like this don’t happen in a vacuum,” Ms. Barger said. “We need a clear picture of what motivated the murder.”
The sheriff noted that detectives are working to uncover the reasoning behind the crime.
“I have no doubt that our investigators will get to the bottom of why something that makes no sense occurred,” Mr. Luna said.
A shrine to honor deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer is placed outside of the Palmdale Sheriff's Station during a press to announce an arrest in the ambush killing of the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, in Palmdale, Calif., on Sept. 18, 2023. (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo)
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was shot in the head Sept. 16 shortly after leaving the Palmdale station around 6 p.m., driving a black and white marked sheriff’s vehicle.
Video reportedly from the station’s surveillance cameras shows a dark gray Toyota Corolla approaching the deputy’s vehicle stopped at a red light before quickly speeding away.
Officials distributed a flyer the following day asking for help identifying the car, and subsequent calls led investigators to identify the suspect and the vehicle of interest, according to the sheriff.
Palmdale officials expressed gratitude for the community’s assistance and the quick, effective work by authorities that led to the arrest.
“It’s great that we can collectively breathe a sigh of relief that the city is safer … now that this individual is off the streets,” Laura Bettencourt, Palmdale mayor, said at the press conference.
Mr. Clinkunbroomer, 30, was an eight-year veteran with the department, served as a field training officer, and became engaged to his fiancé three days before he was killed. His father and grandfather also served at the department as sheriff’s deputy.
Family members of the slain deputy offered a statement asking for privacy in their time of grief.
“Our son Ryan was a dedicated hardworking Deputy Sheriff who enjoyed working here at the Palmdale station. He was proud to work along the side of his partners that he considered brothers and sisters as he sacrificed daily to better the community he served,” the Clinkunbroomer family said in a statement read by the sheriff during the press conference. “Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so. As our first-born son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the sheriff’s department as a whole.”