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Suspect arrested in killing of LA County sheriff's deputy in Palmdale

Richard Winton, Nathan Solis and Grace Toohey, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — A 29-year-old man was arrested early Monday in the ambush killing of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was shot in the head near the Palmdale station Saturday night, officials said Monday morning.

After deputies released information Sunday about a “vehicle of interest” in the slaying of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, Sheriff Robert Luna said a tip from the community led investigators to a home in east Palmdale, where Kevin Cataneo Salazar was arrested early Monday.

“Thirty six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested [the suspect] early this morning,” Luna said Monday morning at a press conference. “We believe we have the murderer of our deputy in custody.”

Special enforcement, or SWAT, deputies took Cataneo Salazar into custody after an hourslong standoff, during which Cataneo Salazar barricaded himself in his family’s home.

“They deployed chemical agents and the suspect ultimately surrendered,” Luna said.

Luna said deputies recovered numerous firearms as well as the Toyota Corolla that was linked to the brazen killing. The vehicle was captured on surveillance video pulling up beside Clinkunbroomer’s marked sheriff’s vehicle before driving away. Clinkunbroomer had been fatally shot in the head.


Julio Cruz was visiting his mom in the Palmdale neighborhood where Cataneo Salazar was detained. He said he heard police activity starting around 1 a.m. Monday, and then, about an hour later, he heard officers shoot out the windows of the two-story house, when the man finally came out around 5 a.m. He also heard what sounded like loud bangs and saw smoke coming from the home.

“We heard police talking over the bullhorn and they were saying, ‘Kevin, come out. Surrender,’” Cruz said.

Cruz said his family noticed a lot of cars pulling into the cul-de-sac on Sunday. They think they were likely those of undercover law enforcement officers.

Cataneo Salazar has admitted to killing the deputy, according to multiple sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.


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