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Man accused in ambush killing of LASD deputy had schizophrenia, family says

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Published September 18, 2023

Updated September 19, 2023

Charges coming for deputy murder suspect

Kevin Salazar, the man accused of shooting and killing Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, is facing charges as soon as Wednesday, according to District Attorney George Gascón's office.

PALMDALE, Calif. - A suspect was arrested early Monday morning in connection to the murder of Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer over the weekend outside the Palmdale Sheriff's Station. Family of the alleged shooter claims the suspect is "mentally ill."

Clinkunbroomer was killed on Saturday, Sept. 16. Clinkunbroomer was sitting in his patrol car, just outside the Palmdale Sheriff's Station around 6 p.m., when a car pulled up beside his cruiser, and someone inside shot at him. Clinkunbroomer was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead that night. 

Kevin Salazar, 29, was arrested after a standoff with deputies in Palmdale Monday morning. During a press conference announcing the arrest Monday morning, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said "We are extremely confident we have the right person in custody."

Suspect arrested in LASD deputy's killing

Kevin Salazar was arrested for allegedly shooting and killing Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer in Palmdale. Officials said they want Salazar prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, while his family said he was mentally ill.

Marle Salazar, Kevin Salazar's mother, told the Los Angeles Times Monday that Kevin Salazar was home with the family after the shooting, and showed no signs of nervousness or that he may have been involved. 

She also told the LA Times that she didn't know her son owned a gun; that detectives said he had legally bought the weapon that was used to shoot Clinkunbroomer. When deputies came to the house Monday morning, she said she and the rest of the family were caught off guard. 

"My son is mentally ill, and if he did something, he wasn't in his full mental capacity," Marle Salazar told The 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."

She said Kevin Salazar was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic about five years ago, and that she called the LASD at least twice over that time when her son refused to take his medication and became aggressive. She said deputies told her there was nothing they could do. Marle Salazar also added that Kevin Salazar had attempted suicide at least twice since his diagnosis.

Arrest made in ambush killing of LASD Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer

An arrest has been made in connection with the ambush killing of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer near the department's Palmdale station over the weekend.


  • Arrest made in ambush killing of LASD Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer in Palmdale
  • LASD deputy murdered: Video appears to show moments before shooting

When asked about Kevin Salazar's potential mental health issues Luna said he wasn't sure whether mental illness played a factor in Clinkunbroomer's shooting, and in response asked, "Think about this. If I had to go to your family and tell them that you were not coming home and were just murdered, does it matter what the person was thinking or their condition?"

Marle Salazar told the Times that her son was recently hospitalized, and seemed to improve, but he stopped taking his medication about 10 months ago. She said her son was behaving calmly, so the family didn't try to intervene.

LASD deputy killed: Suspect awaits court appearance

The man suspected in the fatal ambush shooting of a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department deputy is being held without bail Tuesday at the downtown Twin Towers jail, and was tentatively set to appear in court Wednesday in Lancaster.

"They are putting all this out there that my son killed someone, but nobody is saying that my son is sick," she told The Times. "He's sick, and so many people talk about schizophrenia, but then nothing happens."

If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line). As of July 2022, those searching for help can also call 988 to be relayed to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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