A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s sergeant was killed in the line of duty Wednesday in Lancaster.
The victim was identified as Sgt. Steve Owen, 53.
The incident occurred shortly after noon in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7. Owen was responding to the scene of a residential burglary (see below) when he was “struck by gunfire and transported to a local hospital in critical condition.”
The suspect was ultimately swarmed and apprehended at a nearby location Wednesday afternoon.
Associates referred to Owen on social media as “a big part of the Lancaster community.”
A 29-year veteran of the Sheriff’s Department, Owen received a Meritorious Conduct Award, Gold, in 2014 from then-Sheriff John Scott for an incident in which he caused a gun-wielding suspect to be incapacitated with a Taser. (Read the citation here.)
Owen lived in Palmdale. Public records indicate he previously lived in Saugus and Acton.
His widow, Tania, is a detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. They have two grown children.
A wake was held Wednesday night at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station.
2014 Valor Awards
Sheriff Jim McDonnell issued this statement: “The tragedy of a deputy sheriff such as Sergeant Steve Owen making the ultimate sacrifice has a massive impact on the whole law enforcement family. We all mourn together and our hearts go out especially to Steve’s immediate family Tania, a detective at Arson/Explosives Detail, his two adult sons Brandon and Chad, a step-daughter Shannon and his mother Millie.”
Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said: “Sgt. Owen was an outstanding law enforcement professional who I had the opportunity to know and work with. He was a husband and father who was respected by his colleagues and engaged in his community. He was senselessly murdered while responding to a call for help. His loss leaves a significant void for all those who knew him. Christine and I send prayers and condolences to his family and fellow deputies.”
Owen being interviewed in 2015 after refusing to leave work until a missing Amber Alert baby was found. Source: LASD
Gov. Jerry Brown said: “Anne and I extend our deepest condolences to Sergeant Owen’s family and friends during this difficult time. We join the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department – and all Californians – in honoring his courage and service.”
Brown ordered Capitol flags to be flown at half-staff.
California Attorney General Kamala Harris said: “Sergeant Steve Owen protected his community with bravery and valor and today, made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. On behalf of the California Department of Justice, I offer our deepest condolences to Sergeant Owen’s loved ones and to the men and women he served alongside at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as well as Sheriff Jim McDonnell. This tragic loss serves to remind us of the risks our state’s law enforcement officers willingly confront each and every day to keep us safe.”
Members of LACo Fire Station 104 salute as the procession for LASD Sgt. Steve Owen passes through Santa Clarita Wednesday evening. Source: RMG News
U.S. Rep. Steve Knight said: “Sergeant Steve Owen was a friend and a trusted mentor to so many in our community. An act of lawless cowardice took Steve’s life while he was protecting our families. We will mourn our fallen brother and be there for his family.”
Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said: “I offer my heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who bravely served and protected the people of Los Angeles County for almost 30 years, receiving a Medal of Valor in 2014. His tragic death in the line of duty underscores the dangers that our law enforcement officers face every day. My thoughts and prayers are with the men and women of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department during this difficult time.”
Shunnon Thomas, president of the Antelope Valley NAACP, said: “Our condolences go out to the family at this difficult time. It is a great loss for the department and the people of the Antelope Valley.”
The Lancaster Sheriff’s Station’s Facebook page said: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
The “Coffee with a Cop” event scheduled for Thursday in Santa Clarita is canceled.
A sampling of comments on SCVTV’s Facebook page:
“We tried to save a horse on the Sand Fire when he and his deputies arrived to help. Sad to to lose such a nice man.”
“He used to live right up the street from me and gave my sisters rides to school.”
“He was a good man with a big heart. R.I.P.”
LASD Update, Wednesday 7:49 p.m.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) homicide investigators have learned that shortly after 12:00 p.m., Lancaster Station received a call of a residential burglary occurring at a residence located in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7 in Lancaster.
Sergeant Steven Owen, a 29 year veteran of the sheriff’s department, was the first of two responders to the residence. In an active attempt to preserve life and property and establish a containment, Sergeant Owen positioned himself to the rear of the location. The suspect encountered Sergeant Owen, produced a handgun and opened fire, striking Sergeant Owen. A second deputy arrived on scene and encountered the suspect who had entered Sergeant Owen’s patrol vehicle and was attempting to commandeer it. At that point, a deputy-involved shooting occurred. The suspect then rammed the assisting deputy’s patrol vehicle head-on before running from the scene.
As a containment was established for the apprehension of the suspect, it was learned that the suspect had entered yet another nearby residence occupied by two teenagers. The scared teenagers then alerted the sheriff’s department that the suspect was inside their home, putting into effect an immediate rescue plan.
Already on scene, a special weapons team from LASD’S Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) made entry to protect the lives of the teenagers who were in danger. As SEB made entry, the suspect exited the rear door of the residence and less than lethal devices were deployed to ensure that the suspect could not re-enter. At this time, the teenagers were successfully rescued to safety.
In a continued effort to avoid apprehension, the suspect then climbed over a wall where he was confronted by deputies from Lancaster Station. He was then taken into custody.
The suspect, a male Black adult on active parole, was struck by gunfire in the upper torso and transported to a local hospital for a medical clearance for booking. He is believed to be from the general Antelope Valley area.
A weapon was recovered and although it is early in the investigation, investigators are not currently looking for additional suspects.
Investigators continue to evaluate multiple scenes related to this crime and there is no additional information available at this time.
During this difficult time, it is important to remember and appreciate the heroic efforts by those who are called upon to keep the peace. In this case, Sergeant Owen was killed in his efforts, making the ultimate sacrifice.
Whenever a Deputy Involved Shooting occurs involving Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies and it results in the wounding of a suspect, multiple independent investigations immediately begin at the scene. These include separate investigations by the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau and Internal Affairs Bureau. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department immediately notifies the Office of the Inspector General who sends a representative to the incident scene and provides independent oversight throughout the investigative process. The mission of the Office of Inspector General is to provide strong, independent and effective oversight of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and to ensure transparent, accountable and constitutional policing for the County of Los Angeles. The Critical Incident Review panel convenes to perform a preliminary risk management analysis of the shooting. This panel is comprised of the concerned chief and unit commander, risk management and training personnel, the chairperson of the Executive Force Review Committee, and a representative from the Office of the Los Angeles County Counsel. Every aspect of a Deputy-Involved shooting is ultimately evaluated by the Sheriff’s Executive Force Review Committee, which determines whether there are any policy, tactical, supervisory, or training violations or concerns. The Office of the Los Angeles County District Attorney also participates in the investigatory process and conducts a legal analysis of the shooting.
Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call “Crime Stoppers” by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 MOBILE APP” on Google play or the App Store, or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.