Mom of slain deputy devastated DA isn’t pursuing death penalty: ‘How dare you’

Written by on September 27, 2023

ABC News

(NEW YORK) — The mother of a young sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down on duty is devastated that the district attorney isn’t pursuing the death penalty.

“It just seems that the district attorney wants to spare a life, when [the suspect] didn’t spare my son’s life — he executed my son,” Kim Clinkunbroomer, the mother of slain Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

“You can’t do this to families. We need to defend our law enforcement officers, and that’s not — that’s a disgrace,” she said.

Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was in uniform and in his patrol car when he was shot while stopped at a red light outside the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Robert Luna called the Sept. 16 slaying an ambush and a suspect was arrested two days later.

LA County District Attorney George Gascón repeated his opposition to the death penalty during a news conference last week alongside sheriff’s officials and the Clinkunbroomer family.

“The death penalty doesn’t serve as a deterrent,” Gascón said, according to ABC Los Angeles station KABC-TV.

“If I thought that seeking the death penalty was gonna bring Ryan back to us, I will seek it without any reservation,” he said. “But it won’t.”

Kim Clinkunbroomer said that the press conference last week was when she learned prosecutors wouldn’t be pursuing the death penalty.

“How dare you, on national TV, tell me you’re not seeking the death penalty because it won’t bring my son back? My son’s not coming back, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your job,” she said.

“I truly hope the people of Los Angeles realize what this district attorney is not doing for us. And I hope when the election comes next, they really think hard about that bubble they fill in,” she said.

And as for California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty, Kim Clinkunbroomer said, “Things need to change.”

“People need to be punished for the crimes they commit,” she said.

The LA County District Attorney’s Office told ABC News in a statement Tuesday, “We have nothing but compassion for the family of Deputy Clinkunbroomer. They are experiencing an unthinkable loss. Nothing that can happen in the criminal justice system will ever repair the harm of losing someone so beloved. He is a fallen hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. May his memory be a guiding light, reminding us of the profound sacrifices made by those who wear the badge.”

The suspected killer, 29-year-old Kevin Salazar, is charged with murder with special circumstances. If convicted he’ll face life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.

Salazar’s attorney has entered a plea of not guilty and a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf.

As the case moves forward, the Clinkunbroomer family is trying to cope with their overwhelming grief.

Ryan Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather also served with the LA County sheriff’s department.

His mother called it his calling.

“He went out to patrol as soon as he could. A couple of times he was offered a job inside, and he thought the schedule would be better with his fiancee. And he said, ‘Mom, I can’t do it. I need to be out in that car. I need to be out doing what policemen do,'” his mother said. “He loved it every day and he did it with pride every day.”

The 30-year-old proposed to his fiancee, pediatric ICU nurse Brittany Lindsey, just four days before he was killed.

“He was just the most thoughtful, most respectful, loving, caring person I’ve ever met in my life,” Lindsey told ABC News. “I’m just so grateful to have met and loved him.”

“I know he would have made a great husband and father one day,” she added.

“Every day that he went to work, I prayed for him. I prayed that he’d just come home safe,” Lindsey said. “A lot of nights I couldn’t sleep. I would just watch the clock waiting for him to come home.”

Kim Clinkunbroomer said she wants the public to “back law enforcement more.”

“These guys risk their lives every single day for us,” she said.

She also showed her appreciation for the LA sheriff’s department, who she said has “been nothing short of spectacular” in their shared time of mourning.

“I wish I could sit down with each and every one of them and thank them,” she said.

Just 11 days after her son’s slaying, Kim Clinkunbroomer said, “These are hard days, and our feet feel like they’re in mud.”

“But we’ll get out of that mud. We’ll get out of that mud for him and for the legacy that he’s going to continue to live on, because we won’t let his legacy die,” she added.

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