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Suspect in LA deputy killing heard voices, had attempted suicide, mother says

Salvador Hernandez, Nathan Solis and Terry Castleman, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

LOS ANGELES — The suspect in the killing of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy near the Palmdale station Saturday night has been named.

Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, of East Palmdale was arrested Monday morning at the family home, according to vehicle records and neighbors who witnessed the arrest.

Cataneo Salazar’s mother, Marle Salazar, said she and her family were caught off guard when law enforcement raided their Palmdale home.

Cataneo Salazar had been home after the deputy shooting, and despite the news of the deadly attack and the manhunt underway, he didn’t seem upset or nervous, or give any indication of what might have happened.

“My son is mentally ill, and if he did something, he wasn’t in his full mental capacity,” she said in an interview with The Times in Spanish.

“They’re only saying that he was the one that shot the deputy, but nobody is saying he has a record for needing mental help,” she said.


Salazar said her son was diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenic about five years ago. He’d say he was hearing voices in his head, she said, and sometimes come home telling his parents or siblings that cars or people were following him in the streets.

At times, she said, he’d grow so upset that he would cover his ears with his hands, yell, or stick his head in a trash can to try to drown out the voices.

“We’d ask what he would hear, and he would just get hysterical,” she said.

He’d grow upset, she said, and she’d try to calm him down. Often after such episodes, Salazar said her son would start to act like a child of about 5 years old and ask to be hugged.


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