Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer shot, killed in Palmdale ambush

PALMDALE, Calif. (KABC) — A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was fatally shot Saturday night while in his patrol vehicle in what authorities described as an ambush in Palmdale. The shooter remained on the loose Sunday.

Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a 30-year-old field training officer, was shot Saturday just outside the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station at the corner of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q.

Sheriff Robert Luna said a good Samaritan found the deputy unconscious inside the vehicle around 6 p.m.

Clinkunbroomer was quickly rushed to the Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster where he later died.

Overnight, a procession from the hospital briefly shut down local freeways as deputies escorted his remains to the L.A. County coroner. He will be honored during a candlelight vigil outside the Palmdale sheriff’s station at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Luna said Clinkunbroomer’s death is being investigated as a murder and the department is seeking the public’s help.

He described the suspect or suspects as “cowards” and said there was no warning and no obvious motive.

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

Multiple agencies are offering rewards totaling $250,000 for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect or suspects. The city of Palmdale and Los Angeles County are each offering $100,000 and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs is offering another $50,000.

“We really need your help,” said Luna. “We need to get this guy off the street, guy or guys. He’s a public safety threat. He ambushed and killed, murdered, one of our deputies. We need your help to get him off the street.”

Sunday afternoon Luna said investigators are looking for a “vehicle of interest” that was seen in the area near the deputy’s vehicle around the time of the shooting. The car was described as a dark-gray 2006-12 Toyota Corolla.

Luna said he believes the shooting may have been captured on video. That surveillance video shows a vehicle pull up to the deputy’s patrol vehicle as it was stopped at a light before speeding off.

Luna urged anyone who was in the area of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q around 6 p.m. Saturday to check any camera footage they may possess, such as dashcam videos.

A motive remains unclear. Investigators have not determined if the apparent ambush was personal, related to his job or a random incident just because Clinkunbroomer was in a marked patrol car.

Who was Dep. Ryan Clinkunbroomer?

According to Luna, Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the department and had been with the Palmdale station since July 2018.

He had been working as a field training officer for the past year and a half.

“Not just anybody becomes a field training officer, it’s usually the best of the best,” said Luna.

Clinkunbroomer apparently came from a law enforcement family. Luna said his grandfather and father both had worked for the L.A. sheriff’s department.

“Service was running through his veins … so unfair,” said Luna. “He embodied the values of bravery, selflessness and an absolute commitment to justice.”

Luna also said Clinkunbroomer had just celebrated his engagement about four days before he was killed.

“He was just starting his life,” said Luna.

Manhunt now underway

Luna said numerous local, state and federal law enforcement agencies have offered their assistance in the investigation. However, he’s pushing the public to come forward, especially those people who may have been in the area at the time of the shooting.

“Somebody knows something,” said Luna.

When asked by a reporter if the shooting may have been a targeted attack, Luna noted the investigation is still in its early stages but said “nothing is off the table.”

“I think it was a targeted act, based on what we know now, but we’re still in the extremely early stages of this investigation,” he said.

Palmdale Mayor Laura Bettencourt also spoke to reporters and asked anyone with information to come forward.

Reactions pour in from elected officials

Elected officials, law enforcement and others throughout the region on Sunday reacted to Clinkunbroomer’s ambush slaying.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom called his death a “horrific, unconscionable, and shocking loss.”

“Selflessly serving his community, Deputy Clinkunbroomer followed in the steps of his father and grandfather – entrenching a lasting legacy that forever stands tall. In this time of mourning, we honor this legacy and send our deepest sympathies to Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s fiancée, his loved ones, and the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s devotion to community and country will never be forgotten.”

L.A. County Supervisor Janice Hahn pledged her support for the sheriff’s department.

“The coward who ambushed Deputy Clinkunbroomer last night is still at large and must be brought to justice soon. I am pledging all the county resources needed to find this murderer and support our deputies in the wake of this vicious attack,” Hahn said in a statement. “If you have any information that could help, I urge you to call LASD Homicide at 323-890-5500 immediately.”

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