A suspect in the ambush murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was arrested early Monday morning, a day and a half after the deputy was fatally shot in the head.
At a Monday morning news conference, L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators are “extremely confident” they have the right person in custody. Even with that confidence, Luna urged anyone with information to contact authorities to help the investigation.
Luna identified the suspect as 29-year-old Palmdale resident Kevin Salazar. Salazar was being held at the Palmdale sheriff’s station. Luna said investigators believe no other suspects were involved.
“Thirty-six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested him early this morning,” Luna said.
Deputies surrounded the residence, a house, and called out everyone inside early Monday morning. Family members exited the house, Luna said, but the suspect barricaded himself inside for several hours. After trying to de-escalate the situation and negotiate, Special Enforcement deputies deployed chemical agents, and the suspect surrendered.
Investigators recovered numerous firearms and the vehicle of interest at the house, Luna said.
Salazar’s mother and sister maintain that he has mental health issues. They say that he’s been placed on 72-hour psychiatric holds twice in the past, and they’ve even called the sheriff’s department on him themselves.
“My condolence to the family,” said Salazar’s sister, Yessica. “It was never a purpose thing. Just understand that it was my brother’s mental condition at that moment. It wasn’t a coward thing. It wasn’t anger. It wasn’t retaliation.”
Community members’ information led homicide investigators to identify the suspect and locate the suspect’s vehicle, Luna said. No motive has been determined yet, Luna said. The investigation was ongoing.
The sheriff’s department previously said Deputy Clinkunbroomer had just left the Palmdale station and was sitting at a red light at the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q at about 6 p.m. Saturday when he was found slumped over the wheel of his patrol vehicle by a good Samaritan.
“He was in uniform, sitting in a black-and-white vehicle marked ‘L.A. County Sheriff’s,’ waiting for a red light,” Sheriff Luna said. “Our deputy never even had a chance.”
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was rushed to Antelope Valley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries. He was 30 years old.
Clinkunbroomer was a third generation LASD member, behind his father and grandfather.