LA County Sheriff Luna: DA Gascon assures aggressive prosecution of suspect in deputy’s ambush killing

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Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said he hopes the office of progressive District Attorney George Gascon will prosecute the man suspected in the ambush killing of one of his deputies over the weekend to the fullest extent. 

Luna identified the suspect in the death of Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a 30-year-old field training officer, as Kevin Cataneo Salazar, who was taken into custody Monday morning after barricading himself in a home for several hours. Clinkunbroomer was shot Saturday just outside the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, northeast of downtown Los Angeles. 

The case will be reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, which will decide what charges, if any, will be filed against the 29-year-old Salazar. 

NEW DETAILS COME TO LIGHT ABOUT LASD DEPUTY SHOT, KILLED IN SUSPECTED ‘AMBUSH’ ATTACK

Ryan Clinkunbroomer

Los Angeleas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was shto and killed Saturday. The office of District Attorney George Gascon will decide what charges are filed against the suspected killer, Kevin Salazar.  (LASD)

“I have personally spoken to the district attorney this morning and he assures me that they will aggressively pursue this case,” Luna told reporters in Palmdale during a Monday news conference.  

Fox News Digital has reached out to Gascon’s office. He was not present during Monday’s news conference. 

Since taking office in 2020, Gascon has been heavily criticized by law enforcement, elected officials and his own prosecutors over his progressive policies they see as being soft on crime and contributors to the region’s crime woes. Despite the pushback, Gascon has survived two recall attempts but faces challenges in his upcoming re-election bid from three of his own deputy district attorneys. 

“When George Gascón came into office, he ordered all prosecutors to remove special circumstances on all current cases. That included murdering a police officer on duty. Gascón also ordered all prosecutors to remove the gun use allegations on all cases,” Los Angeles County prosecutor, Jonathan Hatami, one of Gascon’s challengers, said in a statement Monday. “There were no exceptions. These blanket directives applied to all current cases and all new cases.

“When we have the evidence, in cases of murder that are so heinous it shocks the community conscience, we should file those cases to the fullest extent of the law. Justice demands it. We all need to demand that Gascón do his job,” added Hatami.

Richard Pippin, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS), said it’s now up to Gascon to decide to move the case forward. 

NEW DETAILS COME TO LIGHT ABOUT LASD DEPUTY SHOT, KILLED IN SUSPECTED ‘AMBUSH’ ATTACK

Arrest in shooting of LA sheriff's deputy

The suspect is seen being taken into custody outside a home in Palmdale, California. Kevin Salazar, 29, has been identified as the suspected killer in Clinkunbroomer’s death.  (KEYNEWS.TV)

“We expect that he’ll do what he said he assured Sheriff Luna what he would do and make sure that this does not happen to another family,” he said. 

Clinkunbroomer was found unconscious with a gunshot wound in his patrol vehicle outside the Sheriff’s Palmdale station. He was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. Luna described the killing as a targeted ambush. 

He said investigators have not determined a motive for the killing. He added that he was confident the sole suspect responsible was arrested. 

During the search for the killer, investigators released images of a vehicle sought in connection to the fatal attack. That vehicle later was found in addition to “numerous firearms,” Luna said.

District Attorney George Gascon speaks to media wearing navy blue suit and dark tie

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascon speaks during a news conference outside the Hall of Justice in Los Angeles in January.  (Hans Gutknecht/MediaNews Group/Los Angeles Daily News via Getty Images)

“We believe we have the murderer of our deputy in custody,” he said. “He was just driving down the street. And for no apparent reason – and we’re still looking into the specific reasons – somebody decided to shoot and murder him, I’m assuming at this point, because he was in uniform. That, to me, is sickening.”

Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s department and had been with the Palmdale station, which serves the Palmdale and Antelope Valley communities, since July 2021. His family described him as a hardworking deputy who was “dedicated” to his job. 

LASD deputy ambushed vehicle

The patrol vehicle Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was in when he was shot in the head and killed in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. (FOX 11 Los Angeles SkyFOX)

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“He was proud to work alongside his partners that he considered brothers and sisters, and he sacrificed daily. Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so,” the family said in a statement read by Luna. “Ryan was recently engaged to the love of his life. 

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

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