PALMDALE – Officials are expressing remorse and outrage, following the death of a third-generation Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputy, who was shot on Saturday, Sept. 16, while in his patrol car in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station — while a manhunt is underway for the suspect.
“Words cannot describe my immense sorrow for the tragic loss of a brave deputy’s life tonight,” Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger said in a statement after learning 30-year-old Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer had died after being shot earlier in the day.
“(He is a) hero. Palmdale loves the sheriff’s deputies and the deputies take very good care of Palmdale and love our community back. The person that did this is a coward and they will be caught,” Palmdale Mayor Laura Bettencourt said in a statement.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced Clinkunbroomer’s death during a news conference, saying Clinkunbroomer’s father and grandfather had also been deputies and that Clinkunbroomer had become engaged just four days earlier.
“He didn’t deserve this,” Luna said “We’re hurting because we lost somebody. It hurts bad. It sucks, just to put it bluntly. Our hearts absolutely go out to his family.” Luna struggled to hold back his emotions while discussing what he described as a targeted ambush killing.
“He was just driving down the street,” Luna explained. “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. That’s not who this community is and that’s why we stand up here collectively together really asking our community for your assistance as we move forward.”
At about 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, Clinkunbroomer was “found in medical distress” in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station by a Good Samaritan who stopped to render aid.
“Thank god for this Good Samaritan,” Luna said, “somebody (who) chose not to just drive by.”
Clinkunbroomer was transported to Antelope Valley Medical Center in grave condition.
According to media reports, Clinkunbroomer was stopped in a patrol car at a red light when he was shot. He was found in front of the Palmdale Station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q with a gunshot wound to the head. Video from the scene showed a vehicle drive up behind the patrol car, then pull alongside momentarily before speeding away. It was unclear whether this was the suspect, the Good Samaritan or someone else.
Shortly after 11 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 16, the department announced Clinkunbroomer had died.
“I want to let to our community know Deputy Clinkunbroomer left his family tonight to serve our community,” Luna said during his news conference. “He laid everything on the line to serve us. He wore a uniform just like other @LASDHQ deputies wear, driving in a police car, and he was senselessly murdered tonight.”
“From everything I know about Ryan, people absolutely loved and adored him. He wasn’t just one of our Deputy Sheriffs. He was a third-generation deputy. His father and grandfather served with us. Service was running through his veins. He embodied the values of bravery, selflessness and was committed to justice. Our deputy was a devoted family member and a cherished community member. He was cowardly shot while working tirelessly to serve our community this evening,” Luna said.
Luna said Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the department and had been with the Palmdale station since July 2018. He served as a field training officer, which Luna said is a role reserved for only “the best of the best.”
Last week, Clinkunbroomer’s mother, Kim Etzel Clinkunbroomer, posted several photos of her son and his fiancé on Instagram with the message: “We are so excited to add to our family. Congrats to our son Ryan and his fiancé Brittany.”
During an overnight procession, law enforcement officers escorted Clinkunbroomer’s body to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office.
Clinkunbroomer is believed to be the first Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy to die in the line of duty since Oct. 5, 2016, when 29-year department veteran Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, of the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station was shot and killed while investigating a reported break-in.
Luna said homicide detectives were studying the videos news networks have been broadcasting that appears to show a suspect vehicle drive up behind Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car, then pull alongside momentarily before speeding away. But he also implored anyone who has video or information to provide it to the department.
“We are utilizing every resource available to apprehend the suspect responsible for this heinous crime,” Luna said.
Anybody who witnessed anything related to the shooting, especially in the area of Sierra Highway around 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 16, is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or CrimeStoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
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