Suspect arrested in ambush slaying of Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was shot to death in an ambush-style slaying at a stoplight Saturday in Palmdale, Calif. The sheriff's department announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with the slaying early Monday. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Sheriff's Department

Sept. 18 (UPI) -- A "person of interest" has been has been detained in this weekend's ambush-style slaying of a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, authorities said Monday.

LASD Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was found unconscious in his sheriff's cruiser in Palmdale, Calif., at about 6 p.m., and shortly thereafter was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, Calif.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said Sunday there was no apparent motive in the slaying of Clinkunbroomer, a third-generation officer with the sheriff's department who had served since 2018.

The sheriff said the deputy was shot by someone who had pulled up next to his marked cruiser as he waited at a stoplight outside the LASD Palmdale station. A "vehicle of interest" connected to the incident was described as a dark colored 2006-2012 Toyota Corolla 4-door sedan.

Video shot by the Key News Network, an organization of freelance photojournalists, showed a man surrendering to a phalanx of sheriff's deputies in a residential area of Palmdale early Monday morning following an armed standoff. A similar Corolla is seen nearby.

At a press conference later Monday, Luna identified the suspect as Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, of Palmdale. No other people are being sought, he said.

"We are extremely confident we have the right person in custody," he said, adding that the arrest was made after only 36 hours thanks to "community members coming forward" with information.

A motive in the incident still has not yet been determined, he said.

The arrest was made when deputies used "chemical agents" to force the man out of the residence following a standoff in which he had barricaded himself inside. Firearms and the "vehicle of interest" were recovered at the scene, Luna said.

A statement issued by Clinkunbroomer's family called him "a dedicated, hard-working deputy sheriff who enjoyed working here at the Palmdale station. He was proud to work alongside his partners, that he considered brothers and sisters, as he sacrificed daily to better the community that he served."

Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger praised the work of the LASD in quickly apprehending a suspect and vowed to get answers about with the deputy was slain.

"I am determined to obtain those [answers] quickly as are our law enforcement partners and supporters who won't rest until we get the answers we deserve," she said.

Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón has assured the community he will pursue the case aggressively, Barger said.