Kim Clinkunbroomer says her family was in a “state of shock” when Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón dismissed the possibility of the death penalty for the man accused of murdering her son, L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer.
“[With] life in prison … I’m still paying for that as a parent,” Clinkumbroomer told “Good Morning America” in an interview that aired Wednesday. “As a taxpayer, it just seems that the District Attorney wants to spare a life when [the gunman] didn’t spare my son’s life.”
Investigators say Kevin Salazar, 29, fatally shot Clinkunbroomer in a seemingly random ambush on Sept. 16 as the deputy was stopped at a red light in his patrol vehicle near the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station.
Salazar, whom his family says suffers from mental health issues, was arrested two days later after a standoff at his Palmdale home.
Last Wednesday, Clinkumbroomer’s immediate family, including his mother and fiancée, Brittany Lindsey, joined Gascón and L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna at a news conference to announce murder charges in the case.
“If I thought that seeking the death penalty was going to bring Ryan back to us, I would seek it without any reservation. But it won’t,” Gascón said. “If I thought that the death penalty was going to stop people from committing murders, I would seek it. But we know that it won’t. The reality is that the death penalty doesn’t serve as a deterrent and the death penalty does not bring people back.”
In 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” Newsom said at the time. “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Most of all, the death penalty is absolute. It’s irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error.”
According to ABC News, Salazar has confessed to killing Clinkunboomer, making this a simple case with a simple resolution, his mother insists.
“To me, we shouldn’t even be going to court,” Kim Clinkenbroomer told GMA. “And to the governor who put a moratorium on the death penalty, I’m sorry. Things need to change.”