Several photos of Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer lined the walls inside a soundstage at Santa Clarita Studios on Saturday.
Posing for his baseball photo in 2002. Just hanging out with his friends. And a photo with his fiancée Brittany Lindsey in the moment she said, “yes.”
The photos that surrounded 14 poker tables and one blackjack table served as a reminder of the life Clinkunbroomer lived before it was taken away from him.
Clinkunbroomer was a Santa Clarita resident who was shot and killed on duty in Palmdale on Sept. 16. The man accused of killing him, Kevin Salazar, 29, was taken into custody on Sept. 18 after an hourslong standoff. He later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the murder charges.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Foundation held its regular poker tournament fundraiser on Saturday and dealt half of the pot of proceeds to the Clinkunbroomer estate.
“This is very near and dear to our hearts. Deputy Clinkunbroomer was a very big part of this department as you know,” said Capt. Justin Diez of the SCV Sheriff’s Station. “This is a wonderful event to support his family and his memories. Please look around. There’s pictures of Deputy Clinkunbroomer and his family all around. Take a look at each one of them. They’re very special and were chosen because of that.”
Diez asked for all those actively working at the SCV Sheriff’s Station and who worked with Clinkunbroomer in Palmdale to stand.
A handful of people stood up and waved to the crowd that applauded them.
As they sat back down, over one hundred poker players got ready for the hours of Texas Hold ‘Em ahead of them.
One of these players happened to be Steven “Vito” Genovese, a 2023 World Series of Poker champion.
“Sometimes, he says, he has good days and bad days,” Gloria Mercado-Fortine, president of the SCV Sheriff’s Foundation, said of the WSOP champ.
Mercado-Fortine said that many relayed to her that they hoped Genovese would have a bad day.
The top nine winners had the opportunity to celebrate by selecting a prize from the table of donated prizes. First come, first serve, though.
Family, friends, officers and community members all slipped into being mere poker players once the cards were dealt, but the support for Clinkunbroomer never folded.
“The foundation felt very strong, very strongly about supporting one of our own,” said Mercado-Fortine. “He grew up here, he went to our local high school, so there’s a deep connection here and we wanted to show our gratitude for his service and gratitude to his family because it’s certainly a big loss.”
Clinkunbroomer’s family was unable to attend, but in a previous interview with The Signal, his mother Kim Clinkunbroomer said the family is grateful for the community’s support. “The outpour of love has been tremendous, and we can probably never thank everybody [again]. Thank you seems shallow these days, but know from the bottom of our hearts that it’s truly heartfelt and we couldn’t be surviving right now without that.”