End of Watch: The murder of Los Angeles County Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer

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End of Watch September 16, 2023

By Mike Simmons

The Antelope Valley, California is…breathtaking. If you take a moment to look over the valley with the San Gabriel Mountains in the background to the south, you will never forget it. One of the most picturesque parts of the valley is the Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve. The fields – full of shades of orange, red, yellow, and even some violet – carpet the gentle rolling hills. And…if you watch for long enough, you might even see a kangaroo or two!

The Antelope Valley Poppy Preserve, California

To the north of the valley lies the town of Palmdale, in north Los Angeles County. Even though it boasts 170,000 inhabitants, it still maintains a small-town feel. Combine that with low humidity, and the town seems like paradise!

It was what Ryan wanted to do his whole life. Sure, from time to time he might have considered something else, but inside, he always knew he would become a police officer. After all, his father was a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy, as was his grandfather. It was in their blood. He had the call as long as he could remember.

So, it was no surprise when, in 2015, 22-year-old Ryan Clinkunbroomer put on the same uniform he had seen his father and his grandfather wear. It was no surprise, but it was a proud moment for the young man – a very proud moment.

The question in every new lawman’s mind is, “Can I do this? Will I be any good?” Ryan’s question was answered in a short time. He was described by Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna, “People absolutely loved and adored him.”

Three years later, Ryan transferred to Palmdale Station in the charming Antelope Valley. Yes, it was the life!  In 2020, his department chose him to become a field training officer, responsible to train new officers how to do it right.

On September 12, 2023, the big day finally arrived. As would any 30-year-old, he was a bit nervous. But, when the setting was right, he did it. He popped the question. Afterwards, he was an engaged Ryan Clinkunbroomer!

Wow! Everything was great. He had a great job, lived in a wonderful town, and now he was engaged to be married to the love of his life! What a future.

On September 16, 2023 – four days after his engagement – Ryan put on his uniform, just like every other day in his career. He put on the green utility pants and the sharply-pressed tan shirt that bore the highly-sought-after badge of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, his body armor and his sidearm – hoping to never have to use it. He never got the chance to.

About 6 PM, Ryan was on patrol in his beloved community. It was important to him that he kept the citizens safe. There were, as usual, a lot of cars on the street. As he passed through the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q in Palmdale, a fatal bullet entered his body from a cowardly ambush attack. Ryan never had a chance to fire back.

A Good Samaritan called the police to report the shooting. In a matter of seconds, sheriff’s deputies and medical personnel descended on the scene. Ryan was loaded into an ambulance and rushed to the Antelope Valley Medical Center in Lancaster, but it was too late. He was pronounced dead.

Ryan’s body was removed from the hospital

Immediately, press releases came from Sheriff Luna, Palmdale Mayor Laura Bettencourt, and State Senator Scott Wilk. The entire department and the town began to mourn – not because it was the thing to do, but because in Ryan’s case, they were truly mournful. They lost a hero.

As of this writing, the cowardly suspect has not been apprehended, but he has an army of grieving and angry officers looking for him. As Mayor Bettencourt stated, “The person that did this is a coward and they will be caught.”

Good job, Deputy Clinkunbroomer. May you rest in peace.

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