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Suspect in Palmdale deputy killing has confessed to investigators, sources say

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Meanwhile, the suspect's family said he has mental-health issues which include schizophrenia and hearing voices in his head.

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) -- The suspect in the ambush killing of a Palmdale sheriff's deputy has reportedly confessed to investigators, multiple law enforcement sources told ABC News.

Kevin Cantaneo Salazar, 29, was arrested at his Palmdale home early Monday morning after a lengthy standoff with sheriff's deputies. Tear gas was deployed to force him to come out and surrender.

Investigators believe Salazar drove up behind Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer and ambushed him with gunfire Saturday night. A passerby found the deputy unconscious in his car and alerted authorities. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Salazar's family said he has mental-health issues which include schizophrenia and hearing voices in his head.

Before Salazar was arrested, Sheriff Robert Luna referred to the then-unknown gunman as a "coward" and said there was no warning and no obvious motive.

"This is absolutely unacceptable," Luna said Sunday. "Without warning, he was murdered while serving our community."

His family says they understand Salazar will have to face the consequences. But they said his alleged actions may have been the product of mental illness.

"We just want you guys to know my brother has schizophrenia, he's bipolar," said the suspect's sister, Jessica Salazar. "He was diagnosed with schizophrenia. A lot of people that have family members out there are going to understand."

"He would feel persecuted, voices talking to him. He tried committing suicide once or twice."

It is unknown if Salazar has a lawyer but no comment has been made by a lawyer.

Investigators say the suspect was also recently involved in a road-rage incident and they are looking into that to see if or how it may be connected to the shooting.

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