PALMDALE, Calif. — A deputy in Los Angeles County was ambushed and fatally shot late Saturday in what authorities are calling a “targeted act.”
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was shot in the head by an unidentified assailant while sitting in his patrol cruiser outside the Palmdale station of the sheriff’s department, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Sheriff Robert Luna called the shooting a “targeted act” and speculated that Clinkunbroomer may have been killed because he worked in law enforcement, according to the newspaper.
“Somebody decided to shoot and murder him, I’m assuming, at this point, because he was in uniform,” Luna said during a news conference late Saturday.
Luna said a Good Samaritan found the deputy unconscious inside his vehicle around 6 p.m. PDT, according to KABC-TV.
Clinkunbroomer was taken to the Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, where he later died, the television station reported.
“Despite the medical staff’s best efforts to save our deputy’s life, regrettably he succumbed to his injuries,” Luna told reporters.
Clinkunbroomer joined the sheriff’s office eight years ago and came from a family of law enforcement officials, the Times reported.
“He’s third-generation,” Luna said during the news conference. “His father served with us. His grandfather served with us. Service was running through his veins.”
Clinkunbroomer transferred to the Palmdale station in July 2018 and served as a field training officer for nearly two years, KTLA-TV reported.
“Not just anybody becomes a field training officer,” Luna told reporters. “It’s usually the best of the best.”
Four days before his death, the deputy had gotten engaged, Luna said.
“Our hearts absolutely go out to his family,” the sheriff said.
Palmdale Mayor Laura Bettencourt called Clinkunbroomer a “hero” and vowed that the shooter would be caught, the Times reported.
“The person that did that is a coward,” she said at the news conference.
Derek Hsieh, executive director of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs union, told the newspaper that the ambush has sparked anger and sadness among law enforcement personnel.
“It’s an outrage,” he told the Times. “An ambush is a targeted attack against law enforcement and it sends a really clear message.”
No suspect information was available, KTLA reported. Luna issued a plea to the public for information leading to the shooter’s capture.
“We really need your help,” Luna told reporters. “We need to get this guy off the street, guy or guys. He’s a public safety threat. He ambushed and killed, murdered, one of our deputies. We need your help to get him off the street.”