Man accused of killing L.A. deputy pleads not guilty by reason of insanity

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Kevin Cataneo Salazar, the man accused of shooting and killing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer, has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in the fatal shooting.

The 29-year-old, whose family said he had been diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, faces one count of murder with special circumstances of lying in wait, firing from a car and personal use of a firearm — a .22-caliber revolver used in the shooting, according to the criminal complaint.

Clinkunbroomer was shot in the head Saturday while driving a marked patrol car near the sheriff’s Palmdale station.

A motive in the shooting is unclear, but Cataneo Salazar did not have a criminal record before his arrest Monday.

His mother, Marle Salazar, told The Times in an interview that her son had been diagnosed with schizophrenia about five years ago and the family had struggled with his illness for years. She said her son attempted suicide at least twice and was hospitalized on at least two occasions because of mental health crises.

She said she and the rest of her family were not aware that Cataneo Salazar had in the last year legally purchased a firearm, which experts said he should have been prohibited from doing considering his mental health history.

Cataneo Salazar appeared in court in Lancaster on Wednesday, where his attorney entered a plea of not guilty as well as a dual plea of not guilty by reason of insanity. While in custody, Cataneo Salazar has been held in the downtown Twin Towers Correctional Facility without bail. He is next scheduled to appear in court Nov. 7 for a preliminary hearing.

Cataneo Salazar’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

L.A. County Sheriff Robert Luna was asked about Cataneo Salazar’s mental health during a news conference announcing his arrest Monday.

“Whether mental health is a factor or not, think about this: If I had to go to your family and tell them that you were not coming home and you were just murdered, does it matter what the person was thinking or their condition?”

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