Just days after getting engaged, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer said goodbye to his fiancée for the last time.
“I remember that day too, he kissed me goodbye, told me he loved me and I said, ‘I’ll see you later,’” Brittany Lindsey said in a “Good Morning America” interview that aired Wednesday. But he “never came home.”
The couple had been engaged for four days.
“It was the happiest I’d ever seen him — and myself,” Lindsey said.
Officials say the 30-year-old deputy was fatally shot on Sept. 16 as he sat in a patrol car in Palmdale.
Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, was charged in the ambush shooting with one count of murder, plus special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer, murder committed by lying in wait, murder committed by firing from a car and personal use of a firearm. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty and a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf last week.
District Attorney George Gascón has said prosecutors owe it to the slain deputy’s family to secure a conviction and a sentence of life.
“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure the defendant never gets out of prison,” Gascón said.
Gascón was elected in 2020 on a reform platform and pledged not to seek the death penalty in any cases.
“If I thought that seeking the death penalty was going to bring Ryan back to us, I would seek it without any reservation,” he said in a recent news conference. “But it won’t.”
California has not executed anyone since 2006. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a moratorium on executions in 2019 and dismantled the prison’s gas chamber, and in 2022 he announced plans to begin transferring inmates sentenced to death to other prisons.
The deputy’s mother, Kim Clinkunbroomer, said in the interview that she was surprised that prosecutors weren’t pursuing the death penalty.
“Life in prison? I’m still paying for that then, as a parent, as a taxpayer. It just seems that the district attorney wants to spare a life, when he didn’t spare my son’s life,” she said. “He executed my son. He assassinated my son. He assassinated her fiance. To me, we shouldn’t even be going to court.”
Ryan Clinkunbroomer's family worked in law enforcement for generations.
“It’s all he ever wanted to do, was wear that badge with honor," Kim Clinkunbroomer said. “He did ’til the day he died.”