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Military Searching For Missing F-35 Fighter Jet; Ukraine Fires All But One Deputy Defense Ministers; L.A. County Officials Give Update After Deputy Killed, Arrest Made. Aired 1:30-2p ET

Aired September 18, 2023 - 13:30   ET




JIM SCIUTTO, CNN HOST: The military is now asking for the public's help in trying to find, what? An F-35 fighter jet that went missing on Sunday near Charleston, South Carolina. The military describes it as a mishap.

So, how exactly did this happen? The military is not offering too many details, only that a pilot was able to eject safely, then taken to a local hospital.

The plane's location, however, is unknown. And Joint Base Charleston says anyone with information about that missing plane should reach out.

CNN Pentagon correspondent, Oren Liebermann, he's been following the story.

Oren, I wonder what possible explanations they're looking into now. A basic question I have is, wouldn't there be a tracker on something like this? It's a pretty valuable jet.

OREN LIEBERMANN, CNN PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: It certainly is. There should be a way to track these flights, a transponder. Certainly, it was flying over the United States and not flying over enemy territory.

And that's one of the questions. Was the transponder working? If not, why wasn't it working? Why had it been switched off maybe? What was the mission it was on?

All of this is under investigation or a question we haven't gotten an answer to yet.

This plane, an F-35B, was flying a mission Sunday afternoon when something happened and the pilot ejected. The pilot ejected safely. He was taken to a local hospital, where he is stable.

The hard part now is finding the jet. They're looking north/northwest of Charleston near a couple of lakes in that area. But they've called in the public to help them out.

In a second here, we'll get to a list of the agencies that are helping at this point and the organizations.

The key here is finding this and finding what went wrong that led to this.

The Lockheed Martin F-35b is a $100 million fighter jet. According to Lockheed Martin, it is supersonic. It can go about Mach 1.6. It costs about $42,000 an hour to operate, according to the Government Accountability Office.

Not exactly a piece of equipment you lose quickly or easily or, frankly, should lose at all.

Congresswoman Nancy Mace, who represents Charleston, tweeted what a lot of us were thinking when she said this:

"We know the F-35 was stealth, but this is ridiculous."

Then later, she tweeted, "How in the hell do you lose an F-35? How is there no tracking device? And we're asking the public to, what, find a jet and turn it in?"

Kind of a question that's running through everyone's mind at this point.

In terms of the list of organizations and agencies trying to help with this search, Joint Base Charleston, Marine Corps. Air Station Beaufort, the Civil Air Patrol, the FAA, Navy Region Southeast.

So, Jim, this is an all-out effort to find a missing fighter jet.

SCIUTTO: Yes. That's some serious stealth technology, unintended as it may be.

Oren Liebermann, at the Pentagon, thanks so much.


BORIS SANCHEZ, CNN HOST: A major shakeup to tell you about today in Ukraine. All but one of the country's deputy defense ministers have been fired.

It comes weeks after President Zelenskyy fired the defense minister saying new approaches were needed.

And it comes ahead of a busy week for the Ukrainian president. He's set to address the United Nations General Assembly and, later, meet with President Biden and Senators, as he makes another plea for aid.

All of this as officials claim that Ukraine's forces have captured a key village near Bakhmut, an area critical to the counteroffensive.

Let's take you live to Ukraine with CNN's Fred Pleitgen.


So, Fred, what more are you learning about this shakeup? FREDERIK PLEITGEN, CNN SENIOR INTERNATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first

of all, one of the things we're learning, Boris, is that the remaining deputy defense minister is probably going to get fired as well pretty soon because the actual defense minister is currently out of the country, trying to get more arms for Ukraine.

Once he comes back, we expect the last deputy defense minister is also going to get sacked, which is a complete shakeup of the top echelons of Ukraine's Defense Ministry.

One of the things we need to say is that there have been allegations of graft and corruption within the ranks of Ukraine's Defense Ministry for quite a long time.

And President Zelenskyy was seeing that the defense minister, who was in his office before, really wasn't coming to terms with that.

There were allegations, for instance, of too much being paid for food for the troops, of corruption in that sector.

Then also recruitment and the draft here in Ukraine as well, phony health certificates. A lot of that was out there.

And there's several elements to this. On the one hand, the public here was simply fed up with it. You have a lot of people now in Ukraine who are sacrificing a lot, a lot of people being wounded on the front lines and killed on the front lines.

So the public here was very angry that something like that could being going on in the ranks of the Defense Ministry.

But also, Ukraine is a country that wants to join the European Union, that wants to join NATO somewhere down the line. It needs to show a lot more transparency in a battle against corruption.

And then you have President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, as you noted, coming to the U.S., coming to meet President Biden, obviously, looking for another weapons package.

And the Ukrainians are trying to show, look, those weapons are going to be in good hands and the Defense Ministry is now being run in a different way.

All of that is going to be a transparent process -- Boris?

SANCHEZ: Yes, a visit coming at a time where public polling shows a majority of Americans are weary of sending more aid to Ukraine.

Fred Pleitgen, from Zaporizhzhia, thanks so much.


BRIANNA KEILAR, CNN HOST: Rescue teams in Libya are calling for more help as they face the grim task of retrieving bodies of people killed in catastrophic flooding there. We're going to take you inside the country just ahead. And one NFL player turns his grief off the field into a moment of

triumph on the field. His story is next on CNN NEWS CENTRAL.



SANCHEZ: So, just moments ago, Los Angeles County officials gave an update on the ambush-style killing of a sheriff's deputy.

We want to play you comments from Sheriff Robert Luna. Here they are.


ROBERT LUNA, SHERIFF, LOS ANGELES COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Thirty- six hours after the murder of our deputy, the men and women of our department arrested him early this morning.

I'm very proud --


LUNA: -- very proud of the work that our men and women have done.

You'll see, as I lay this out, their professionalism, their dedication, their discipline, just absolutely off the charts and shows just what an amazing department the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is.

Yesterday, after 4:00 p.m., we had a press conference at that time. Many of you were here. Community members came forward with information, which led homicide detectives to identify the suspect and the vehicle used in the murder of Deputy Clinkunbroomer.

Early this morning, our Special Enforcement Bureau served a warrant at the suspect's residence, located in the 37600000 block of Thurston Street (ph) here in the city of Palmdale.

During that operation, deputies surrounded the residence and called out all the occupants of that residence. Eventually, family members did come out.

The suspect chose to barricade himself and refused to initially come out. He barricaded himself for several hours.

Our Special Enforcement deputies, basically our SWAT team, were out there for several hours trying to de-escalate the situation using different techniques, including using hostage negotiators.

Eventually, they were deployed -- they deployed chemical agents and the suspect ultimately surrendered.

And I want to take a pause here for a second when I talk about how proud I am of this department after a significant tragedy that we shared with all of you. Because those Special Enforcement deputies took the time to try to de-

escalate this and take this individual peacefully into custody when they knew that our deputy was not afforded the same opportunity.

He never gave our deputy a chance. But yet our men and women gave this individual a chance to take him into custody peacefully.

That's the difference between professionals and individuals out there who are targeting not only community members but, more importantly, law enforcement out on the street.

Investigators recovered numerous firearms and the vehicle of interest that was depicted in the flier that we put out yesterday in our press conference.


I want to stress that our investigators are still actively working this case. There's more information that we probably don't know at this time. Every piece of evidence, everything we have, will be analyzed.

And I do want to stress to our community that although we are extremely confident that we have the right person in custody, I am still asking people to come forward and give us any piece of information that they believe that they have.

Why? Because the arrest is only one part of this. We have to get this individual prosecuted now to the full extent of the law. And we need the public's continued help and support in doing that.

The suspect was arrested and transported here to the Palmdale sheriff's station, pending further investigation. The suspect has been identified as 29-year-old Kevin Cataneo Salazar of Palmdale.

I would also like to emphasize that Ryan's partners, the deputies that served this community here out of the Palmdale sheriff's station, were involved in this investigation, leading to the arrest of the suspect.

And we believe at this time there are no other suspects involved in this incident.

Homicide investigators will be presenting this case to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office for their filing consideration.

I have personally spoken to the district attorney this morning, and he assures me that they will aggressively pursue this case based on the factors that you know of today.

I want to take a second to thank our community members here in Palmdale. You have been with us from the very beginning.

And honestly, based on our pleas yesterday, we wouldn't be here today announcing the arrest if it wasn't for courageous community members who came forward and were so offended by what happened they had to do something about it. I thank them. I thank them.


LUNA: The entire Antelope Valley community's assistance played an instrumental role in leading to information, leading to identification of this suspect. And, again, we're extremely grateful.

But here's the thing. The arrest, the work that needs to be done for the prosecution is only part of this.

I ask all of you, specifically in the Antelope Valley, to continue to support our deputies here at the Palmdale station, Lancaster Station right next door, and really all of law enforcement.

I think this taught a lot of people a lot of valuable lessons.

Our deputy left the station in uniform to serve, and he was shot and killed. Why? We don't know yet. But we intend to find out. But at the end of the day, he was in a marked black and white, right here in front of the station, and he was murdered, ambushed, by a coward.

Our officers, our deputies, go out and serve this community every day, putting their lives on the line.

So, we have a lot to be thankful for that we have men and women who volunteer to do this and families who kiss them good-bye and just pray that they come back home.

And in this case, Ryan's family will never see him again. Excuse me.

I want to thank our homicide investigators, who work tirelessly to coordinate many Detective Division team members throughout the duration of this investigation.

We told you all we left nothing on the shelf. All of our resources were entirely committed for this investigation.

And as I stated earlier, 36 hours later, with the help of our community, in collaboration with our community, we have the person that we believe is responsible for the tragic murder of Ryan.

I also want to thank the city of Palmdale, the city of Lancaster, supervisor, Kathryn Barger, who has been with us from the very beginning and, as you know, offered a significant amount of the reward, along with our officials from Palmdale.


And like I said yesterday, we had many others offering rewards. It was $250,000, a quarter of a million dollars. It tells you how much love, respect and support we have in our community for our deputies.

And we had thousands, others coming in, and in reserve, ready to roll that out if we needed to. I also want to thank Alabs, and the president who is going to be

speaking today, for their support from the very beginning. And every local, state and federal partner who called and offered their assistance.

Director Wray just called me before coming up here. The governor, the attorney general. It just goes on and on. I know there's many people standing behind me.

But I want to acknowledge FBI assistant director, Don Elway, from the FBI, who has been supportive from the very beginning.

I'm going to, next, read a statement from the family. And after that, I'll turn it over to the other speakers. And then I will come back to answer any questions that you may have.

Before I start reading the statement, though, I want to emphasize to our partners in the media -- you are partner. We wouldn't be here announcing this arrest if it wasn't for your assistance.

But I respectfully ask that you give the family privacy. They have asked for it. We have had people trying to contact them at home. They need privacy. They need time to grieve. And they're grieving.

This is a statement from the family.

"Our son, Ryan, was a dedicated, hard-working deputy sheriff who enjoyed working here at the Palmdale station.

"He was proud to work along the side of his partners that he considered brothers and sisters, as he sacrificed daily to better the community that he served. Ryan made the ultimate sacrifice in doing so.

"Ryan was recently engaged to the love of his life. As our first-born son, Ryan will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the sheriff's department as a whole.

"Please keep Ryan's family, friends and colleagues in your prayers. And respect everyone's privacy during our time of mourning. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. The Clinkunbroomer family."

Thank you very much.

And with that, I'm going to turn it over to the next speaker, our supervisor, who I thank a whole lot for her support.

Thank you.


And what I will say, what a difference a day makes. First off, I want to congratulate the sheriff's department for apprehending a person of interest quickly. We have the best and the brightest working.

And last night, I had the honor of meeting some of them and I knew --


SANCHEZ: We've just been listening to officials in Los Angeles, speaking about the arrest of a suspect in the murder of an L.A. County deputy over the weekend.

Let's bring you up to speed and put what you just heard into context.

On Saturday, near the sheriff's station in Palmdale, Deputy Ryan Clinkunbroomer was in his vehicle when he was apparently shot.

He was in uniform, on duty, and was shot. A civilian saw him. He was later taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

And within 36 hours, officials in L.A. County apprehended a suspect by the name of Kevin Cataneo Salazar, a 29-year-old.

Officials were led to his residence by a tip from the public after they gave a press conference on Sunday night.

They went to his home earlier this morning. Initially, the suspect barricaded himself for several hours. There were ongoing negotiations with officials until a SWAT team moved in, deploying chemical agents. The suspect eventually surrendering.

The sheriff of L.A. County, Robert Luna, saying, at this point, a motive is still unknown. He said that the arrest is just the beginning of this investigation. But that he believes the suspect was behind the death of a 30-year-old deputy.

He also read a statement from Clinkunbroomer's family, saying that they are thankful for the efforts of the sheriff's department and those who assisted in the capture of this suspect.

They're asking for privacy right now. They do say that the deputy was recently engaged and that they will greatly miss him.


You're watching CNN NEWS CENTRAL. We're going to stay on top of this story and many others, and be right back in just a few minutes.



SANCHEZ: Finally free. Smiles and hugs as Americans imprisoned in Iran start the journey back to the United States after years of being wrongfully detained.