PALMDALE, Calif. (AP) — A 29-year-old man was arrested early Monday in the ambush killing of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was shot as he sat in a patrol car, authorities said.
The suspect barricaded himself into a home in the city of Palmdale, but later surrendered, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told a news conference. Luna said authorities have not yet determined a motive for the killing of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer on Saturday evening.
Luna said the situation is “fluid” and there could be more arrests but that he believes the suspect is the person who killed the deputy.
“I feel extremely confident that we have the right person in custody,” Luna said.
Hundreds attended a vigil outside the Palmdale sheriff’s station Sunday for the 30-year-old third-generation law-enforcement officer who had just become engaged four days before the shooting.
The sheriff read a statement from Clinkunbroomer’s family, who said he was dedicated, hardworking and proud to serve alongside his colleagues.
“Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so,” the statement said. “Ryan was recently engaged to the love of his life. As our firstborn son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the sheriff’s department as a whole.”
Luna said the department received information the suspect was at the Palmdale residence, and that he had barricaded himself inside for several hours before being arrested peacefully.
The department released grainy surveillance video of a dark-colored sedan that pulled alongside the patrol car in the moments before the shooting.
Clinkunbroomer had just left the sheriff’s station in Palmdale, a city of more than 167,000 residents in the high desert of northern Los Angeles County. A “good Samaritan” spotted him and alerted station personnel.
The sheriff said Clinkunbroomer had been assigned to the Palmdale station since July 2018.
“Deputy Sheriff Ryan Clinkunbroomer and his family are an integral part of the very essence of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, and this heart-wrenching murder cuts to the very core of our being,” Richard Pippin, the president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, the deputies’ union, said in a statement.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom called the killing “horrific, unconscionable and shocking.” He ordered flags at the state capitol flown at half-staff in honor of Clinkunbroomer.
“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,” Newsom said in a statement Sunday. “Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s devotion to community and country will never be forgotten.”
Deputy William Warner, who trained Clinkunbroomer, told the Los Angeles Times his determination to follow in his father‘s and grandfather’s footsteps was evident in his work ethic.
“He just wanted to do the best that he could do,” Warner said, “and do his small part to make a difference in the best way that he could.”