A Los Angeles Sheriff’s deputy was “ambushed” and killed Saturday night while in his patrol car by an unknown suspect. Authorities suspect the deputy was targeted simply because “he was in uniform.”
Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was found unconscious in his car at 6 p.m. Saturday night, Sheriff Robert Luna told reporters at a late night press conference. The bystander called 911 and Clinkunbroomer was taken to the hospital for a gunshot wound but did not survive.
Authorities have not yet identified the gunman. Luna said no theory was eliminated for the suspect’s motive, but it appeared the deputy was targeted because “he was in uniform.”
“He was just driving down the street and for no apparent reason — and we’re still looking into the specific reasons — somebody decided to shoot and murder him,” Luna said.
Clinkunbroomer had just left the Palmdale station and his car was found nearby at the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q. Law enforcement officials familiar with the investigation told NBC News Sunday that a video clip with that shows a car pulling alongside the patrol car before speeding away is currently a focus in the investigation.
There have been few leads in the case as detectives question whether the deputy was targeted or if the gunman was seeking any person in uniform and driving a patrol car to attack, source said. Investigators are looking for additional video that may match what appears to be the moment of the ambush.
“Detectives are in the initial stages of this investigation and seeking the public’s assistance to apprehend this suspect,” Luna said during the Saturday press conference. “So I’m gonna continue with my notes, but I’m just gonna pause we really need your help.”
Richard Pippin, president of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, described Clinkunbroomer’s death as an “unprovoked execution” in a statement Sunday.
“We all suffer immeasurable loss when cowardly acts of murder such as this are committed,” Pippin said. “We are left reeling from this incomprehensible tragedy. I assure you that every law enforcement officer in the region is focused on relentlessly pursuing these criminals until justice is served.”
A third-generation deputy, Clinkunbroomer had spent the last year and a half as a field training officer. Luna described the role as one reserved for the “best of the best” in the department.
“He embodied the values of bravery… selflessness, and an absolute commitment to justice,” Luna said. “Our deputy was a devoted family member and a shared cherished member of our community who was cowardly shot while working tirelessly to serve our community this evening.”
Clinkunbroomer got engaged just four days prior to his death, Luna said. In addition to his fiancé, Clinkunbroomer is survived by his parents and grandparents.
Deputies gathered alongside other county employees and community members to form a processional as Clinkunbroomer’s body was transported Saturday night. Clinkunbroomer was draped in an American flag as he was wheeled out of the hospital and into a coroner’s vehicle.