The funeral Mass of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, was attended by hundreds of law enforcement personnel, dignitaries, elected officials and his friends and family in downtown Los Angeles on Thursday morning.
His casket, draped in an American flag, was carried into the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels by a bagpipe procession. The flag was later removed, and the casket was doused with holy water by Archbishop José Horacio Gómez, who also delivered the opening prayer. The casket then was draped with a shroud before being presented before the altar while a soloist sang “Amazing Grace.”
Clinkunbroomer was shot and killed while on duty in Palmdale on Sept. 16. The man accused of killing Clinkunbroomer, 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.
Among those attending the funeral was Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, who also delivered a speech. Luna commended the Clinkunbroomer family for the over 100 years of service its members have collectively provided to the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department.
“Ryan was everything we looked for in a deputy sheriff: integrity, a passion to serve, high emotional intelligence, the heart of a guardian, and yes, when needed, the heart of a warrior,” said Luna. “His reputation was one of a true professional. He knew his job and handled himself calmly (and) with confidence.”
Father Vaughn Winters, pastor for Clinkunbroomer’s church — Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, in Saugus — delivered a sermon in which he echoed a common prayer said by many since Clinkunbroomer’s death, “blessed are the peacemakers.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are the merciful. Ryan was a very humble man, he was quiet, he didn’t seek attention to himself. He was a man simply of devotion and of duty,” said Winters. “When we think of Ryan, we think of these gratitudes: blessed are they that hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are the clean of heart, blessed are the peacemakers and, yes, blessed are those persecuted for the sake of righteousness.”
Three deputies who served with Clinkunbroomer delivered their personal experiences with the man they knew as “Clink,” his nickname within the Sheriff’s Department.
“Clink handled 5,583 calls for service, handled 3,333 ops, put 950 people in jail and the whole time, he was our best friend for hours,” said Deputy Zachary Gregg.
Capt. Josh Bardon, of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, detailed the day Clinkunbroomer was killed. Bardon said the day was supposed to be a personal celebration — he was about to be named captain of the station. However, it quickly “gave way to an outright nightmare” once they got the call.
“Ryan was not just a coworker or colleague to many of us, he was a friend and in many ways a family member,” said Bardon. “He always had a smile on his face and loved a good laugh, nothing seemed to ever get to him or ever get him down. When you work in this job long enough, you become part of another family and the Palmdale station family undoubtedly lost one of its best and brightest in Ryan.”
Clinkunbroomer’s fiancée Brittany Lindsey detailed how, on the morning of Clinkunbroomer’s death, they sat in their kitchen and talked about wedding plans, not realizing that just a short time later she would have to help plan his funeral.
“We were both so excited as we talked about our future,” said Lindsey. “We talked about buying a bigger house, a boat, how many kids we wanted, baby names — all the things we will now no longer get to experience.”
Clinkunbroomer is the fourth generation in his family to serve with the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department. His father, Michael Clinkunbroomer, eulogized his son by sharing memories from his childhood, offering glimpses of his character during his early years.
“Ryan, your mother and I will always love you and your wonderful fiancée, Brittany, she will always be part of our life,” said Michael. “Today we bid farewell to our firstborn son Ryan, a brother, a friend, a grandson, a partner and a fiance to Brittany.”
“We’re not saying goodbye, Ryan. But we’re saying ‘thank you,’” said Michael. “I’m saying ‘thank you’ for making me a better human being … I’ll see you one day in heaven. You’re my hero.”
The funeral was concluded with a final prayer from the archbishop, the removal of the shroud on the casket, the replacement of the flag on it and procession out of the church led once again by bagpipes.
Clinkunbroomer was 30.