Man arrested in murder of schizophrenic California police officer, family says | ET REALITY

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The family of the 29-year-old man arrested Monday morning in connection with the fatal ambush-style shooting of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy who was sitting in his patrol vehicle in Antelope Valley over the weekend is speaking out. their struggles with mental health.

Authorities believe Kevin Salazar ambushed and killed Deputy Ryan “Clink” Clinkunbroomer, 30, an eight-year veteran of the sheriff’s department, around 6 p.m. Saturday while the deputy was sitting at a red light. near the intersection of Sierra Highway and Avenue Q. in Palmdale. He was rushed to Antelope Valley Medical Center, where he later died as a result of his injuries.

Rep. Ryan Clinkunbroomer
Rep. Ryan Clinkunbroomer. (THE D)

After an hours-long standoff Monday morning, in which neighbors were evacuated and SWAT officers fired tear gas, Salazar was detained around 5 a.m. outside his Palmdale home.

The 29-year-old man’s family told KTLA they were shocked by his early morning arrest and that he had never hurt anyone before.

Jessica Salazar, the suspect’s sister, said this is in no way an excuse for his actions, but that her brother needs professional help, has been struggling with mental health issues and had stopped taking his medications.

“We’re not justifying anything,” Jessica said. “We feel sorry for that family. Hurts. No one wants to go through that, but I want you to know that my brother had schizophrenia. He had paranoia. He heard voices.”

Kevin Salazar
Kevin Salazar, accused of killing a Los Angeles County deputy, was arrested on September 18, 2023 (Key News Network).

According to Dr. Evita Limón Rocha, a psychiatrist at Kaiser Permanente, schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder. She says symptoms can include misinterpretations of the environment, delusions, as well as hearing and seeing things that other people cannot hear or see.

“Treatment typically involves working with a mental health provider, such as a psychiatrist, to treat the individual with a variety of medications, typically a category of medications we call antipsychotics,” he explained. “And to try to find the right medication for the patient, it’s a discussion about risks, benefits and alternatives.”

Dr. Rocha added that if you are ever concerned that a loved one is struggling with these types of mental health issues, it is essential to find support.

“Whether it’s seeking crisis support, whether it’s calling 988, 911 or going to the nearest emergency room,” he said. “Or if we are worried and want more information, go to our internal medicine doctor or if it is a child, to a pediatrician.”

Salazar’s mother told the Los Angeles Times that she called the police in the past for help when her son refused to take his medication and was told there was nothing they could do since he was an adult. She also said that her son had been hospitalized over the past year, but that he seemed to be doing better lately.

A local psychiatric hospital tells KTLA 5’s Rachel Menitoff that family members often find themselves in a bind. They can go the legal route and file for guardianship or hope that their loved one wants to receive treatment.

“I just know that we tried to help my brother with schizophrenia,” said the 29-year-old’s sister. “Many people who know this, who have family members in the same situation, will understand how difficult it is to want to help a loved one and know that their mind is not in the right frame of mind.”

There are resources for individuals and families who need help. A good first step is National Alliance on Mental Illness or NAMI, which has a program called family to family to help people better understand a mental health system that can be complicated and challenging.

About 1,000 people showed up at the sheriff’s station for a vigil Sunday night in honor of Deputy Clinkunbroomer.

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