Ryan Clinkunbroomer
Ryan Clinkunbroomer. Photo via @LACoSheriff X

A manhunt was underway Sunday – with rewards totaling a quarter of a million dollars being offered – to find the killer who ambushed a third-generation Los Angeles County sheriff‘s deputy, who was shot in front of the department’s Palmdale station.

At a Sunday afternoon news conference, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said investigators had identified “a vehicle of interest” seen near slain Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car near the time of Saturday’s shooting.

The car is described as a dark gray Toyota Corolla, dating back to 2006-12. The Sheriff’s department later distributed fliers showing images of the vehicle.

Clinkunbroomer, 30, was “found in medical distress” at about 6 p.m. Saturday when a good Samaritan stopped to render aid. The wounded deputy was taken to Antelope Valley Medical Center in grave condition.

Ryan Clinkunbroomer
The Sheriff’s department on Sunday released these images of the car being sought following the shooting death of Dep. Ryan Clinkunbroomer. Photo credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department

Shortly after 11 p.m., the department announced Clinkunbroomer had died.

According to media reports, the deputy was stopped in a patrol car at a red light when he was shot. He was found in front of the station at Sierra Highway and East Avenue Q with a gunshot wound to the head.

During an earlier news conference at the City of Hope Antelope Valley, Luna said Clinkunbroomer’s father and grandfather also had been deputies and that the victim had gotten engaged just four days earlier.

“He didn’t deserve this,” Luna said “This is so unfair. We’re hurting because we lost somebody. It hurts bad. It sucks, just to put it bluntly. Our hearts absolutely go out to his family.”

Luna struggled to hold back his emotions while discussing what he described as a targeted ambush killing.

“He was just driving down the street,” Luna explained. “And for no apparent reason – and we’re still looking into the specific reasons – somebody decided to shoot and murder him, I’m assuming at this point, because he was in uniform. That, to me, is sickening. That’s not who this community is and that’s why we stand up here collectively together really asking our community for your assistance as we move forward.”

Homicide detectives were studying videos broadcast during news reports that appear to show a vehicle drive up behind Clinkunbroomer’s patrol car. It was unclear whether this was the suspect, the good Samaritan or someone else.

“We are utilizing every resource available to apprehend the suspect responsible for this heinous crime,” the sheriff said. “Somebody saw something. Somebody knows something. There is a family here at this hospital grieving an unimaginable loss. We need your help.”

On Sunday, Luna said the Toyota that investigators are seeking was seen pulling alongside Clinkunbroomer’s patrol vehicle before speeding away in what he called “widely circulated video.”

To the person or persons responsible for the killing, he said, “I’d give up. We are going to find you.” And in answering a question from a reporter, he aded, “We’re not going to leave any stone unturned.”

Anyone who witnessed anything related to the shooting, especially in the area of Sierra Highway at around 6 p.m. Saturday, was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).

The agencies offering rewards include the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which will provide $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the killer or killers of Clinkunbroomer.

Another $100,000 reward was offered by the city of Palmdale, and the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs added a $50,000 reward.

Clinkunbroomer was an eight-year veteran of the department and had been with the Palmdale station since July 2018. He served as a field training officer, which Luna said is a role reserved for only “the best of the best.”

Last week, Clinkunbroomer’s mother, Kim Etzel Clinkunbroomer, posted several photos of her son and his fiancé on Instagram with the message: “We are so excited to add to our family. Congrats to our son Ryan and his fiancé Brittany.”

During an overnight procession, law enforcement officers escorted Clinkunbroomer’s body to the Los Angeles County coroner’s office.

He is believed to be the first Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed in the line of duty since the Oct. 5, 2016 shooting death of 29-year department veteran Sgt. Steve Owen, 53.

Owen, who worked out of the Lancaster sheriff’s station, was shot while investigating a reported break-in.

City News Service contributed to this article.

Updated 4:50 p.m. and 5:55 p.m. Sept. 17, 2023