By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor.
Another Law Enforcement Officer suffered a senseless death at the hands of a career criminal. This time, as is usually the case, a caring, officer who established himself within his community and by simply doing his job, died far too early.
Sergeant Steve Owen, who worked for the Los Angeles County Sheriff for twenty-nine years, was ambushed and assassinated after responding to a burglary complaint.
His fellow community members shared much grief over the loss of a well liked deputy who served many and fostered remarkable attention to those in need–above expectations and for the benefit of many.
Steve Owen was survived by his wife, two adult sons, a stepdaughter and his mother.
The tragic events unfolded after a 911 caller reported a possible residential burglary within an apartment complex. As Owen covered the rear of the building, the suspect, Trenton Trevon Lovell, reportedly attacked and shot Sergeant Owen in the face, mortally wounding him. Another officer heard the gunfire and ran from the front of the building, finding a wounded Owen.
The shooter then ran to the parking lot, entered Owen’s patrol car, and attempted to flee. Owen’s partner returned to the front and opened fire on the suspect who in-turn rammed another car injuring the deputy.
The suspect exited the patrol car and ran to a home where he held two teenagers. One of the teens summoned police via text messaging. A SWAT team later forced entry to the residence but before securing the murderer he ran, jumping a fence and eluding officers.
Over one hundred law enforcement officers participated in a manhunt to locate Lovell. Their luck turned when resident of Lancaster saw Lovell enter her back yard. Already aware of the earlier shooting, she saw the suspect run toward the open back door but she quickly locked the back door before he could enter. Police within seconds closed in and arrested Lovell.
Having endured several gunshots to the upper torso, Lovell was admitted to hospital where he eventually recovered.
Sergeant Owen was earlier rushed to Antelope Valley Hospital. His wife, who serves with the LASO in the department’s Arson & Explosives Unit, had along with four other family members arrived just before Owen died. He was fifty-three.
Sergeant Ownes received several accolades for heroism, including the department’s Medal of Valor for rescuing a hostage in a car held by a kidnapper wearing body armor.
The suspect held the hostage at gunpoint and a clear shot was impossible due to the proximity of the hostage. Sergeant Owen directed another officer to Tase the hostage taker through an open window, providing a necessary distraction to allow the hostage to flee. A second Taser firing penetrated the vest and incapacitated the suspect.
The community praised Owen for his service.
Journalist Eric Leonard spoke during a radio segment of a case that endeared Sergeant Owen to the community years ago when a prostitute had been beaten, maimed, and left for dead in the desert. When Own arrived, she was able to tell him her thirteen year old daughter had been taken by a pimp, the same person who assaulted her. Owen said that as a parent, he refused to go home until the child was located. Later, he found the girl abandoned in a shed in the desert, without food or water and left to die.
Senseless deaths are unfortunately to be expected in this line of work, this time as unfortunately many times, one of Los Angeles County’s deputies became a victim.
By Darren Smith
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