LOS ANGELES — The mother of a young sheriff’s deputy shot in the line of duty in Palmdale is devastated that the district attorney is not pursuing the death penalty.
“It just seems like the district attorney wants to spare a life, even though (the suspect) didn’t spare my son’s life – he executed my son,” said Kim Clinkunbroomer, the mother of slain Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer ABC News in an exclusive interview.
“You can’t do that to families. We have to defend our police officers, and that’s not — that’s a disgrace,” she said.
Ryan Clinkunbroomer, 30, was in uniform and in his patrol car when he was stopped at a red light in front of the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station. Sheriff Robert Luna called an ambush on September 16 and a suspect was arrested two days later.
Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascón reiterated his opposition to the death penalty during a news conference last week alongside sheriff’s officials and the Clinkunbroomer family.
“The death penalty has no deterrent effect,” Gascón said.
“If I thought asking for the death penalty would bring Ryan back to us, I would seek it without reservation,” he said. “But it won’t.”
Kim Clinkunbroomer said she learned at last week’s news conference that prosecutors would not pursue the death penalty.
“How dare you tell me on national television that you won’t seek the death penalty because it won’t bring back my son? “My son isn’t coming back, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your job,” she said.
“I really hope the people of Los Angeles realize what this district attorney is not doing for us. And I hope that in the next election they really think hard about the bubble that they’re filling,” she said.
And as for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s moratorium on the death penalty, Kim Clinkunbroomer said, “Things have to change.”
“People need to be punished for the crimes they commit,” she said.
The Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office told ABC News in a statement on Tuesday: “We have nothing but compassion for the family of Deputy Clinkunbroomer. They suffer an unimaginable loss. Nothing that can happen in the criminal justice system will ever undo the damage of losing someone so loved. He is a fallen hero who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. May his memory be a guiding light, reminding us of the profound sacrifices made by those who wear the badge.”
The alleged murderer, 29-year-old Kevin Salazar, is charged with murder under special circumstances. If convicted, he could face life in prison without the possibility of parole, prosecutors said.
Salazar’s attorney has entered a not guilty plea and a double plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf.
As the case progresses, the Clinkunbroomer family tries to deal with their overwhelming grief.
Ryan Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s office. His father, grandfather and great-grandfather also served in the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
His mother called it his calling.
“He went on patrol as quickly as he could. He was offered a job inside a few times and thought the schedule would be better with his fiancée. And he said, ‘Mom, I can’t do this. I.’ “I need to be out in this car. I need to be out there doing what police officers do,” his mother said. “He loved it every day and did it with pride every day.”
Just four days before his death, the 30-year-old proposed to his fiancée, pediatric intensive care nurse Brittany Lindsey.
“He was simply the most considerate, respectful, loving and caring person I have ever met in my life,” Lindsey told ABC News. “I’m just so grateful to have met him and loved him.”
“I know he would have been a great husband and father one day,” she added.
“Every day he went to work I prayed for him. I prayed that he would just come home safe,” Lindsey said. “Many nights I couldn’t sleep. I just looked at the clock and waited for him to come home.”
Kim Clinkunbroomer said she wants the public to be “more supportive of law enforcement.”
“These boys risk their lives for us every day,” she said.
She also expressed her appreciation for the LA County Sheriff’s Department, which she said has been “just nothing short of spectacular” during their time of mourning together.
“I wish I could sit down with every single one of them and thank them,” she said.
Just 11 days after her son’s murder, Kim Clinkunbroomer said: “These are hard days and our feet feel like they’re in mud.”
“But we will get out of this mud. We will come out of this mud for him and for the legacy by which he will live on, for we will not let his legacy die.”