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Person of interest detained in ambush killing of LA County sheriff's deputy in Palmdale

Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

No motive for the killing has been revealed. The detained person was described according to a sheriff's call code as suffering from diminished mental capacity, according to two law enforcement sources.

Investigators are examining whether the person was involved in a prior road rage incident shortly before the deadly shooting, according to the law enforcement sources.

Deputies with the LASD's special enforcement team removed the man from the home in East Palmdale, forcing him to take off his shirt before handcuffing him, sources said.

Hours later, just before 9 a.m., a Toyota Corolla matching the vehicle of interest in the case was loaded onto a flatbed truck and removed from the neighborhood.

Luna on Sunday called the slaying a "targeted act" and asserted that Clinkunbroomer might have been killed because he worked in law enforcement.

"Somebody decided to shoot and murder him, I'm assuming at this point, because he was in uniform," Luna said.

A passerby found the deputy unconscious in his vehicle at Avenue Q and Sierra Highway around 6 p.m., officials said. Fellow deputies took him to Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, and he died as physicians attempted to treat his gunshot wound.


Clinkunbroomer joined the department eight years ago and had been based at the Palmdale station since 2018. For the last 18 months, he worked as a field training officer, a position that Luna said was for the "best of the best." Clinkunbroomer's family was steeped in law enforcement, and he was the third generation to work for the Sheriff's Department.

Luna said that four days before his death, the deputy had proposed to his fiancee.

"His father served with us. His grandfather served with us," Luna said. "He had so much ahead of him, and this coward, or cowards, took his life while he was sitting at a red light, waiting to serve his community."

"He had a good heart," said a colleague in the Sheriff's Department who spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters. "Nobody has anything bad to say about him because he treated people and the public with respect."


Staff writer Grace Toohey contributed to this report.

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