Suspect in Killing of LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Charged With Murder, Could Face Death Penalty

In his first court appearance, the man accused of killing Los Angeles County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. Kevin Salazar, despite the Special Directives issued by District Attorney George Gascon the day after he assumed office, prohibiting the charging of special circumstances in cases of first-degree murder, was charged with three such circumstances: lying in waiting, murdering an officer, and shooting from a car. Salazar was charged with firearm enhancements. Only two punishments can be imposed if convicted of special circumstances murder: either life imprisonment without parole or death.

Salazar was restrained and wearing a bulletproof vest during the brief appearance.

As we reported on Sunday, court documents confirm that Salazar confessed to deputies that he had shot Clinkunbroomer during his arrest. Several firearms were also retrieved after his arrest from Salazar’s house. Salazar, a prohibited individual, has been hospitalized multiple times with paranoid schizophrenia, according to his mother and law-enforcement sources.

She said, in a Spanish-language interview with The Times, that her son was mentally ill and, if he had done something, it wasn’t at his full capacity.

She said, “They are only saying he shot the deputy but no one is saying he needs mental help.”

She said, “I’ve called the police several times.” She said, “They would eventually say that he is an adult and we couldn’t do much if he didn’t want to [take his medication].”

She said that twice since his diagnosis he has attempted suicide. She said, “It wasn’t my son who did it. It was the disease.” “They’re saying my son killed someone but no one is saying he is sick.” “He is sick and many people are talking about schizophrenia but nothing ever happens.”

She stated that her son was hospitalized in Sylmar over the last year and appeared to be doing much better. He stopped taking medication around 10 months ago. She said that he seemed “calm” and so, she and her family did not press the issue.

Salazar’s mother, as reflected in the above quote, also stated that Salazar had tried to commit suicide twice. However, there were still firearms in her home, which she didn’t seem to know about, based on the interview she gave with the Los Angeles Times.