A suspect has been arrested in connection with the ambush killing of a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office deputy, officials announced.
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was shot while sitting in his patrol car in Palmdale, California, on Saturday evening, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a press announcement on Sunday.
On Monday, Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna announced that Kevin Salazar, 29, of Palmdale, had been arrested earlier that morning and taken into custody.
“Thirty-six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested him early this morning,” Luna said at a press conference on Monday. Luna said he is “very proud” of the law enforcement effort to track down Salazar, who allegedly barricaded himself within his home for hours before ultimately surrenduring.
Luna said that law enforcement was tipped off to the identity of the suspect by local residents.
“I want to take a second to thank our community members here in Palmdale,” Luna said at the press conference. Courageous community members who came forward and were so offended by what happened that they had to do something about it.”
Luna said that the office of District Attorney George Gascón assured him that Salazar will be criminally prosecuted.
“I have personally spoken to the district attorney this morning and he assures me that they will aggressively pursue this case,” Luna said.
Luna also read a statement from Clinkunbroomer’s family.
“Our son Ryan was a dedicated, hard-working deputy sheriff who enjoyed working here at the Palmdale station,” the statement said. “He was proud to work along the side of his partners, that he considered his brothers and sisters.”
The statement said that Clinkunbroomer made “the ultimate sacrifice” for his community, and that “as our first-born son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and sheriff’s department as as whole.”
Earlier Monday, the LASD denied reports to Law&Crime that an arrest had been made in the case.
“At this point we have a person of interest detained but no arrest has been made,” an LASD spokesperson told Law&Crime on Monday. A press conference was planned for 10:30 a.m. local time.
Clinkunbroomer, an eight-year veteran of the LASD, was “ambushed” at around 6:00 p.m. during what the department describes as “routine patrol duties.”
“He was in full uniform, driving a marked patrol vehicle, and had just left the Palmdale Station, heading northbound on Sierra Highway,” the press release says. “Deputy Clinkunbroomer was alone in his vehicle when he stopped at the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q in Palmdale. Shortly thereafter, a Good Samaritan discovered him unconscious in his vehicle and promptly alerted Palmdale Station personnel.”
Clinkunbroomer was rushed to an area hospital, “where dedicated medical staff made every effort to treat a gunshot wound he had sustained,” the press release says. “Tragically, he succumbed to his injuries.”
On Sunday, the LASD and Crime Stoppers released a poster offering a $250,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the killing. The poster identified a 2006-2012 dark gray Toyota Corolla as a “vehicle of interest.”
According to reports, surveillance footage shows the vehicle driving next to the patrol car and speeding away.
At Monday’s press conference, Luna said investigators recovered several weapons as well as the vehicle from Salazar’s home.
At a press conference on Sunday, Sheriff Robert Luna asked the public for help in identifying the vehicle, and referred to the perpetrators as “cowards.”
“I’m going to continuously refer to them as cowards because that’s what they are, cowards, to attack a deputy sheriff in uniform in a black and white who is just sitting there at a red light about to out there and serve our community,” Luna said.
Luna also noted that Clinkunbroomer had gotten engaged just four days earlier.
Palmdale is located around 60 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles.
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