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Man, 29, arrested in shooting death of LA County Sheriff’s deputy

  • LA Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was found in patrol car Saturday
  • Sheriff: Deputy was "devoted family member," "cherished community member "
  • Family of man accused in shooting says he had schizophrenia, heard voices

(NewsNation) —A person of interest was detained in connection to the shooting death of Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer as he sat in his patrol car at an intersection, authorities said Monday morning.

At a news conference, Sheriff Robert Luna identified the person who was arrested as a 29-year-old man from Palmdale named Kevin Cataneo Salazar.

“We are extremely confident that we have the right person in custody,” Luna told reporters.

Luna said authorities served a warrant at the suspect’s residence early Monday morning. After calling all of the occupants of the residence out, Luna said, the suspect barricaded himself for several hours. Law enforcement then tried to de-escalate the situation, using hostage negotiators to assist. Eventually, chemical agents were deployed and the suspect ultimately surrendered.

“Those special enforcement deputies took the time to try to de-escalate this and take this individual peacefully into custody when they knew that our deputy was not afforded the same opportunity,” Luna said.

Investigators were able to recover numerous weapons, as well as the vehicle of interest they had been searching for. Surveillance video shows a dark-colored sedan pulled along Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car moments before the shooting.

Clinkunbroomer, 30, had been on duty when he was found unconscious in the vehicle around 6 p.m. Saturday in the city of Palmdale, California, Luna said. He later died at the hospital.

“Service was running through his veins. He embodied the values of bravery, selflessness and was committed to justice,” Luna said on Facebook. “Our deputy was a devoted family member and a cherished community member.”

Flags at the state Capitol were flown at half-staff in honor of Clinkunbroomer. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said the killing was “horrific, unconscionable, and shocking” and offered condolences to Clinkunbroomer’s fiancée, family and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

NewsNation local affiliate KTLA reported Clinkunbroomer had been engaged to his fiancée for just four days before his death.

“Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s devotion to community and country will never be forgotten,” Newsom said.

In a statement given by police, Clinkunbroomer’s family said he was a “dedicated, hard-working deputy sheriff” and “sacrificed daily to better the community that he served.”

“As our firstborn son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends, and the sheriff’s department as a whole,” the statement said.

Clinkunbroomer’s father and grandfather had also served in the sheriff’s department.

About 1,000 people came to the sheriff’s station Sunday night for a vigil. On Monday, bumper stickers with Clinkunbroomer’s picture reading “The bravest often fall by the hands of cowards” were handed out, KTLA reports.

Police still don’t have a motive for the shooting.

“He was shot and killed. Why? We don’t know yet,” Luna said. “But we intend to find out.”

Family members of Cataneo Salazar have told media outlets he has a history of mental illness.

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental distress, please call or text 988 for the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.

Cataneo Salazar’s mom told the Los Angeles Times in an interview her son was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about five years ago, and would say he he was hearing voices in his head. Sometimes, according to the newspaper, he’d come home and tell his parents or siblings that cars or people were following him on the street.

There were times, Cataneo Salazar’s mom said, that he would get so upset he would cover his ears with his hands, yell or stick his head in a trash can to drown out the voices. When asked what he heard, Cataneo Salazar would “just get hysterical.”

“My son is mentally ill, and if he did something, he wasn’t in his full mental capacity,” Cataneo Salazar’s mother said to the L.A. Times. “They’re only saying that he was the one that shot the deputy, but nobody is saying he has a record for needing mental help.”

Speaking to KABC, Cataneo Salazar’s sister said he would “feel persecuted.”

Since he was diagnosed, Cataneo Salazar’s mom said he’s attempted suicide twice.

“It’s not my son that did it, it’s the disease that did it,” she said. “They are putting all this out there that my son killed someone, but nobody is saying that my son is sick. He’s sick, and so many people talk about schizophrenia, but then nothing happens.”

Family members of Cataneo Salazar who talked to KABC apologized for the pain the community is going through.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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