Saturday evening I was at home with my family, hosting our monthly family night with my brother and sister and their clans. I had spent all day smoking pork shoulders and finally sat down with my brother and brother-in-law to enjoy a pre-dinner cigar and whiskey. Then my phone and my brother’s (a current law enforcement officer) phone went off at the same time, and we saw the same thing: an LA County Deputy Sheriff was down in front of the Palmdale station and the suspect was gone, location unknown. My mind raced, and I immediately contacted a very close friend of mine, a Special Victims Detective in the department, to see if they could keep me updated with information. As a former LA County Deputy Sheriff who worked in that station, I was also trying to keep my anger and sadness from taking away from my time with my family, but I am afraid it didn’t work as well as I would have hoped. “Deputy Down” or “Officer Down” are words that immediately strike fear, desperation, panic, and anxiety into the soul of every cop who hears them, and my brother and I are no different.
More information came in, and I grew angrier and filled with more sadness as I got caught up in the information about the deputy and what had happened. But nobody wanted to or was able to confirm the deputy’s condition until much later. All I was able to ascertain was what we reported Sunday morning:
Sources tell RedState the deputy was in his patrol car just down the street from the station when he was shot. A citizen walked into the station and advised deputies at the counter that there was a radio car with a deputy slumped over his wheel at the corner of Sierra and Avenue Q. Deputies ran out and found Clinkunbroomer slumped over with a small caliber wound/hole to the back of his head behind the left ear.
Clinkunbroomer was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he succumbed to his injuries.
I was furiously going through all my contacts and reviewing social media while I tried to see if any of the news had picked it up. I saw several videos of the incident, and my heart sank as I knew deep down that it wasn’t looking good at all. One video that I will not show here, but I will describe, shows the raw emotions and sense of urgency of Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s partners. When deputies first found Clinkunbroomer, they ripped him out of his car and loaded him into theirs to get him to the hospital as fast as possible instead of waiting for paramedics and an ambulance to arrive and transport him. The video taken showed the deputies pulling Clinkunbroomer out of the backseat of their car and running to load him into an ambulance that was waiting for them miles down the road. The video is absolutely gut-wrenching.
Grainy security video footage apparently from the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, where I once worked, captured what authorities believe was the suspect vehicle approaching Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s radio car as he was stopped at a red light. The suspect vehicle then pulls up beside the driver’s side of the vehicle, stops, and then quickly departs the area while Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s vehicle slowly rolls forward for a short distance and then stops. No shots or muzzle flashes were seen in the video, but sources from the department are confident that it was indeed the suspect vehicle and the entire incident.
@FOXLA Video of LASD Sheriff’s deputy ambushed at traffic light outside of Palmdale station. LASD says he was shot in back of the head. Tune in for Sheriff Luna, about to speak here at hospital at 11:15pm. @LASDHQ Our thoughts and prayers are with his family pic.twitter.com/08Pb1Zth9w
— Hailey Winslow (@HaileyBWinslow) September 17, 2023
My anger and fury almost boiled over after seeing that. I have seen incidents like this before, where officers or deputies are in their radio cars and in full uniform and get ambushed out of nowhere. A recent memory of an incident almost identical to this was when two Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies in the city of Compton were gunned down in their car by a suspect on foot back in 2020. Luckily, both of those deputies were able to survive and recover from their wounds, and the suspect was caught later.
But the same cannot be said in last night’s incident. Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s wounds were not survivable, and he died later that evening in the hospital. Since my time in combat and during my time in the Department, all the way to the present, I have known dozens of brothers and partners who were killed in combat, on patrol, or suicide. In my two-part series titled “Humanizing the Badge Part 1” and “Part 2,” I explain the pain and sorrow of these events.
Getting killed on the job is an occupational hazard by nature; we don’t carry weapons and wear body armor for fun. It is an unfortunate reality of human society, regardless of where you live or what country you reside in. Police officers are tasked with a job that most people do not want to do, and we do our very best at it. But to be ambushed and or executed just for being a cop is lower than low. Ambushes are not a new thing; they are common practice in war and have been since the inception of warfare. Both sides use ambushes as an accepted part of the battle; trust me, it sucks to be caught in one, but it goes both ways in war. The problem is that police officers are not at war, not participating in war, and are not an offensive military unit. Police officers carry weapons and body armor for defensive purposes only, with the exception of going into an active shooter situation, where we are essentially assaulting a position to neutralize an active threat.
To be approached by stealth and shot in the head and face at close range is an ambush execution. It’s a method of murder not often seen; however, there have been numerous examples of this happening to peace officers throughout the United States for decades, unfortunately. I want to be perfectly clear when I say this: I have zero sympathy for the suspect who did this. These “people” aren’t really people; they’re vile animals that deserve no quarter and no compassion. Yes, I am angry. I am furious that attacks on law enforcement are getting commonplace, and worse, people are celebrating them.
There are plenty of posts and comments on posts with people celebrating Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s execution, saying things like “one less pig” or “got what he deserved.” Some are posting things like “ACAB” or “6 not 12,” which makes reference to the adage that says, “better to be tried by 12 than be carried by six.” These people want nothing more than to kill us all and be done with it. There are no reforming goals with these anti-police cretins; they just say that so they can feel better about themselves. All they want is death by any means necessary, and they will not stop until all cops are gone. The mainstream media is complicit in this when they cover law enforcement incidents.
People like me are either public enemy number one, or at the very least, I am a “bootlicker” because I support law enforcement. It has gotten so bad that many on the right are using the term against supporters of law enforcement because of the events on January 6th, amongst others. Those opinions and statements are trash and always will be trash.
I am tired. I am tired of lowering my flag for another murdered officer or another suicide. Deputy Ryan Clinkenbroomer was a third-generation LA County lawman; his father and grandfather both served in the Department and were revered and respected as consummate professionals and leaders. I can absolutely understand the pain and suffering that Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer’s family and friends are feeling right now. The deputies and civilian personnel at Palmdale Station are all suffering now. The deputies working patrol that night all had to keep answering calls and responding to calls for help, the whole time wondering if they were going to be next, asking themselves if this was an isolated incident or the start of something sinister. They had to put it all away, deep into a box, to unpack later if they could. Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer just three days ago asked his girlfriend to marry him and became engaged. Now his fiancee has to suffer the loss of what was going to be a long lifetime of happiness with her man.
My deepest and heartfelt sympathies go out to her, their families, Deputy Clinkunbroomer’s extended law enforcement family and friends. Deputy Clinkunbroomer will be welcomed by his maker with open arms and smiles as he is welcomed home as the hero and leader that he was. I never got to meet the young man, but his reputation preceded him, and I know that the impact of his service to the community of Palmdale and the greater Antelope Valley in Northern Los Angeles County will be felt for years and years to come.
Go be with God, Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, take your place in the fields of Heaven, and watch over those that you have left behind. Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff Ryan Clinkunbroomer, End of Watch September 16th, 2023; your partners have the watch now, Sir.