LOS ANGELES—In an emotionally charged service, relatives, friends, and colleagues said farewell Oct. 5 to a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was gunned down in his patrol vehicle near the Palmdale sheriff’s station just days after getting engaged to the love of his life.
Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a 30-year-old, fourth-generation deputy, was honored in a Mass at the Cathedral of our Lady of the Angels, which was filled to capacity with law enforcement personnel, dignitaries, and family who described him as the quintessential deputy, friend, and fiance.
“I know he left this world full of love,” Mr. Clinkunbroomer’s fiancée, Brittany Lindsey, said as she fought back tears. “He was ready to commit his life to me and I was ready to commit mine to him. I would give anything in the world to have him here. I wish I could kiss him, hug him, tell him one last time that I love him. He’s the best guy I’ve ever met and my best friend.
“He didn’t deserve this. I will never understand why this happened to him. He loved his job. He went to work every day with a smile, and he was so proud to take care of his community. He’s a real hero,” she said.
“Ryan, I want you to know how proud I am of you and how much you inspired me to be a better person. I don’t know how I’m going to get by without you here, but I promise I’ll be strong for you. I love you with my whole heart and I miss you more than anybody will know. I’m heartbroken that our future got cut short. I know you would have been an amazing husband and father. Please watch over your brothers and sisters in blue. Give them the grace to carry on your legacy. I love you so much, until I see you again.”
Several of Mr. Clinkunbroomer’s deputy colleagues spoke of their friendship and of his dedication to his work, friends, and family.
“This bond I had with him—it’s going to be hard to have that bond with somebody else,” Deputy Andrew De La Rosa said. “Clink was perfect when it came to patrol. He did everything right, everything by the book. And he was smooth, very smooth with what he did. … When you saw Clink, you knew it was going to be handled perfectly.”
Mr. Clinkunbroomer’s father, Michael, told stories about his son growing up and following in his family’s footsteps into the sheriff’s department—and his pride in his son’s success.
“We’re not saying goodbye, Ryan, but we’re saying thank you,” he said. “I’m saying thank you, Ryan, for making me a better human being. … Thank you, Ryan, for your love of life. … Your mother and I will always miss you. I’ll see you one day in heaven. You’re my hero.”
Mr. Clinkunbroomer was shot around 6 p.m. Sept. 16 while sitting in his patrol car at a traffic light near the station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q.
Video from the scene showed a dark-colored sedan pulling up behind the patrol SUV, then slowly pulling alongside the driver’s side of the deputy’s vehicle, pausing, and then driving away.
Sheriff’s officials said a good Samaritan stopped to render aid after the shooting and the wounded deputy was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center in grave condition. He was pronounced dead that night.
Mr. Clinkunbroomer’s alleged killer, Kevin Eduardo Cataneo Salazar, 29, of Palmdale, was arrested two days after the killing, following a standoff at his family’s home. He was charged with murder and has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.
Speakers at Thursday’s funeral service, however, spoke of Mr. Clinkunbroomer’s dedication, his service, and his love of his family, his fiancée, and even his sports teams—the Dodgers and the Miami Dolphins.
Sheriff Robert Luna noted the Clinkunbroomer family’s service to the department, beginning with Ryan Clinkunbroomer’s great-grandfather in 1937, followed by his grandfather and father. The sheriff noted the family had “over 86 years of unbroken service and 121 years of combined service.”
“That’s this family,” Mr. Luna said, drawing applause from the audience.
“Ryan’s absence has left us heartbroken, with a hole torn in our lives by this senseless and cowardly murder,” Mr. Luna said. “Some of us ask, why him? Why now? Others ask why not me? And the truth is we may never know. But what we do know is that Ryan was an amazing, good-hearted friend, brother, partner, teammate, son and grandson and fiance—and absolutely an outstanding deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County.”