The family of Ryan Clinkunbroomer spoke out after the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy was killed execution-style earlier this month.
On Sept. 16, Clinkunbroomer was shot in the back of the head in his patrol car while at a stop light near the Palmdale Sheriff’s station in Palmdale, California. The officer later succumbed to his injuries.
Two days after the deputy’s death, Kevin Salazar was arrested on suspicion of carrying out Clinkunbroomer’s murder. Salazar later confessed to the killing, per ABC News.
Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón held a press conference the following Wednesday and announced he would not seek the death penalty for Salazar, claiming capital punishment would not bring Clinkunbroomer back from the dead. In lieu of the death penalty, Gascón said he would seek life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) for Salazar.
“If I thought that seeking the death penalty was gonna bring Ryan back to us, I would seek it without any reservation,” Gascón said during the Sept. 20 press conference. “But it won’t.”
Clinkunbroomer’s family were reportedly “blindsided” by Gascón’s aversion to capital punishment, according to a new interview with the family.
“At that moment, we were in a kind of state of shock that it was not the death penalty,” said Clinkunbroomer’s mother, Kim.
Kim said as a parent she would still be paying for Salazar serving life in prison.
“As a taxpayer, it just seems that the district attorney wants to spare a life when he didn’t spare my son’s life,” she continued. “He executed my son. He assassinated my son.”
“He assassinated her fianceé,” Kim said of Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s soon-to-be wife. “To me, we shouldn’t even be going to court.”
Clinkunbroomer’s mother criticized California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2019 executive order, which instituted a moratorium on capital punishment in the Sunshine State.
In 2016, Californians voted in favor of keeping the death penalty in place by passing Proposition 66.
Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer criticized Gascón’s announcement that he would not seek the death penalty for Salazar during the Sept. 20 televised press conference.
“The Clinkunbroomers just lost their son in the most horrific way and instead of being treated with dignity and respect by the man elected to protect public safety, they were forced to stand there with cameras recording their tears while they learned Ryan’s life mattered far less than the man who murdered him,” Spitzer said of the Los Angeles DA. “George Gascon is the worst prosecutor in America.”
“Our sworn protectors deserve so much more than a prosecutor who cares more about the life of the murderer than the murdered,” he added.