The mother of fallen Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer said in a televised interview on Wednesday that the slain deputy’s loved ones were blindsided last week when L.A. County District Attorney George Gascón announced he would not seek the death penalty against the man accused of killing her son in a brutal ambush attack.
“We were in a kind of a state of shock that it was not the death penalty,” Kim Clinkunbroomer said in the ABC News interview, which aired on “Good Morning America.” “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 (the shooter) didn’t spare my son’s life. He executed my son. He assassinated my son … (T)o me we shouldn’t even be going to court.”
Members of the Clinkunbroomer family, alongside his fiancée Brittany Lindsey, stood by in tears as Gascón made the announcement in a Sept. 20 press conference.
Ryan, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was shot and killed while on duty in Palmdale on Sept. 16. The man accused of killing him, Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, was taken into custody after an hourslong standoff Sept. 18 and later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to murder charges.
In the news conference, Gascón said he would not pursue the death penalty because it wouldn’t bring Ryan back.
“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,” Kim said in an article published on ABC7, and added that “things need to change” in reference to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty.
“I truly hope the people of Los Angeles realize what this district attorney is not doing for us,” she said in the ABC7 article. “And I hope when the election comes next, they really think hard about that bubble they fill in.”
The L.A. County District Attorney’s Office released the following statement in response to the televised interview:
“We have nothing but compassion for the family of Deputy Clinkunbroomer … Nothing that can happen in the criminal justice system will ever repair the harm of losing someone so beloved.”
‘He just never came home’
Lindsey, Ryan’s fiancée, was interviewed alongside Ryan’s mother in the segment that aired Wednesday, and recounted how Ryan had proposed to her just four days before he was killed.
“It was the happiest I have ever seen him, and myself,” Lindsey said in the interview.
She recalled saying goodbye to Ryan that morning, just like any morning before he went to work.
“I remember that day too, he like kissed me goodbye, told me he loved me, I was like, ‘I’ll see ya’ later,’” said Lindsey, “and (he) just never came home.”
Kim said that all she wants now from Ryan’s death is positive action, specifically to protect law enforcement officers.
“It’s all he ever wanted to do, was wear that badge with honor. He did until the day he died,” Kim said, adding, “I have to make sure something positive comes out of this. I don’t know what it is, I don’t know the avenue, but I will stand behind anybody that needs me to speak so that there are changes.”