The heartbroken new fiancée of a slain Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy broke down as she paid tribute to “the best guy I’ve ever met” — as authorities revealed they aren’t seeking the death penalty for the man charged with executing him in his squad car.
Brittany Lindsey recalled the nightmare of losing her 30-year-old partner, Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, in an ambush attack just days after they got engaged.
“Ryan was the best guy I’ve ever met,” Lindsey said at a news conference Wednesday alongside Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón and Sheriff Robert Luna.
“I am so happy I was able to love him. It was not long enough.”
The grief-stricken fiancée fought back tears as the DA and sheriff announced a slew of charges against Kevin Cataneo Salazar, 29, over the fatal shooting Saturday night.
Authorities say Cataneo Salazar had allegedly stalked the deputy as he left the Palmdale sheriff’s station at about 6 p.m. and got in his patrol car.
Clinkunbroomer was “waiting for a red light to turn” when Cataneo Salazar ambushed him and shot him in the head just one block away from the station, the sheriff alleged.
Authorities have said the deputy was “targeted” but wouldn’t disclose if Cataneo Salazar was seeking to harm Clinkunbroomer specifically or any member of law enforcement, generally.
Prosecutors haven’t yet laid out a motive in the case.
While the sheriff said Wednesday he hoped for “nothing less than the maximum punishment available under the law,” the district attorney implied they wouldn’t be seeking the death penalty.
“If I thought that seeking the death penalty was going to bring Ryan back to us, I would seek it without any reservation,” Gascón said.
“But it won’t.”
“We’re going to do everything in our power to make sure the defendant never gets out of prison,” the DA added.
Cataneo Salazar is charged with one count of murder, plus special circumstance allegations of murder of a peace officer, murder committed by lying in wait, murder committed by firing from a car and personal use of a firearm.
His attorney, George Rosenstock, entered a plea of not guilty and a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity on his behalf during his arraignment Wednesday.
The perp’s mother, Marle Salazar, told the Los Angeles Times that her son had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia about five years ago.
She said Cataneo Salazar would recall hearing voices in his head and sometimes claimed that cars or people were following him. He twice attempted suicide, she added.
“My son is mentally ill, and if he did something, he wasn’t in his full mental capacity,” she said.
Cataneo Salazar is being held without bail and is scheduled to return to court in November.
With Post wires