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

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

Published in News & Features

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

After deputies released information Sunday about a “vehicle of interest” in the slaying of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, L.A. Sheriff Robert Luna said community members came forward with information that helped investigators identify Kevin Cataneo Salazar as the suspect. That led deputies to his home on the east side of Palmdale, where he 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 at a news conference. “We believe we have the murderer of our deputy in custody.”

Investigators say there are no other suspects involved.

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

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


Deputies recovered numerous firearms at the location as well as the Toyota Corolla that was linked to the brazen killing, Luna said. The vehicle was captured on surveillance video pulling up beside Clinkunbroomer’s marked sheriff’s vehicle Saturday before driving away, moments before the deputy was found fatally shot in the head.

Julio Cruz was visiting his mom in the Palmdale neighborhood where Cataneo Salazar was detained. He said he heard law enforcement 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. The suspect finally came out around 5 a.m, Cruz said. 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.

Cataneo Salazar admitted to killing the deputy, according to multiple law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation. He was linked to the case after someone who had been in a road rage incident with Cataneo Salazar came forward and then helped identify him, the sources said.


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