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Suspect in fatal shooting of LA deputy was paranoid schizophrenic whose family tried to get him help: mom

The man accused of fatally shooting a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy has an alarming history of severe mental illness — but was repeatedly refused help and was still able to legally buy guns, according to his family.

Kevin Cataneo Salazar’s mom, Marle, said she repeatedly tried to get help for her 29-year-old son in the five years since he was diagnosed with schizophrenia, saying he heard voices and had twice attempted to kill himself.

“It’s not my son that did it, it’s the disease that did it,” the distressed mom told the Los Angeles Times after her son was busted Monday for fatally shooting newly engaged Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer late Saturday.

“They are putting all this out there that my son killed someone, but nobody is saying that my son is sick,” she told the paper in her native Spanish.

“They’re only saying that he was the one that shot the deputy, but nobody is saying he has a record for needing mental help,” she said.

“I have called the police several times … In the end, they would say, ‘He’s an adult, so if he doesn’t want to take [his medication], we can’t do anything,’” she said, blaming it for her son being off his meds for around 10 months.

The suspect’s sister, Jessica Salazar, also told reporters that her brother has been put under multiple 72-hour psychiatric holds, just to be released.

“Just know that we tried helping my brother,” she told KTLA.

“We feel for [Clinkunbroomer’s] family. It hurts,” she said, saying she wishes she “could just wake up and say it was all a dream.”

“Nobody wishes to go through that, but I do want you guys to know that my brother had schizophrenia. He had paranoia. He heard voices.”

Authorities have accused Cataneo Salazar of driving alongside Clinkunbroomer, a 30-year-old third-generation LASD officer, in his squad car before firing through the window and fatally striking him in the head Saturday night.

He was taken into custody Monday morning after barricading himself inside when cops showed up with a warrant for his arrest.

SWAT officers and hostage specialists negotiated with Salazar for “several hours” before he finally surrendered when chemical deterrents were fired into the home, LASD Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference following Cataneo Salazar’s arrest.

He was taken into custody Monday morning after barricading himself inside when cops showed up with a warrant for his arrest.

“Our deputies gave this suspect an opportunity to peacefully give up. That is not the right that was afforded to our deputy three days ago out here on the street,” Luna said.

Investigators are “extremely confident we have the right person in custody,” Luna said, noting that community tips were crucial in identifying the suspect – though a motive remains unclear.

Several weapons were also recovered from Salazar’s family home.

His mom said she had no idea her son had any guns, but was told by police they were legally purchased – despite him being diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia and having psych holds.

Salazar would complain of hearing voices, and would tell his loved ones he was being followed, his family said.

At times, his mom said, he would grow so upset he would cover his hands, yell or stick his head in a trash can to drown out the voices.

“We’d ask what he would hear, and he would just get hysterical,” Marle Salazar recounted.

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