A sheriff’s sergeant from Los Angeles County was shot and killed Wednesday afternoon while responding to a burglary in Lancaster.
Sgt. Steven Owen died at the hospital about two hours after the shooting. He was 53 years old, a 29-year decorated veteran, and father of three.
According to Mayor R. Rex Parris, who knew Owen well, the sergeant received a large-caliber bullet to the face.
“I just left 100 officers crying,” said Parris. “It’s indescribable seeing that many sheriff’s deputies in tears.”
Owen was gunned down in the backyard of a Lancaster home around 12:30 p.m. while responding to a burglary report. A deputy heard the gunfire and ran around the building where he found Owen. The deputy chased after the shooter, who then got into Owen’s patrol car and attempted to steal it. Officers shot at the suspect before he backed up and slammed into another patrol car. As deputies blocked off the neighborhood, the shooter escaped into a nearby house where two teenagers were hiding.
SWAT members entered the home to rescue the two teens, and as they entered, the suspect fled out the back door. Finally, he was captured upon climbing over a wall behind the home.
The shooter, who was later identified as a parolee, was rushed to the hospital for the treatment of a bullet wound.
According to authorities, another deputy was injured during the incident, but not by a gunshot.
“This is the thing we all dread,” said the Sheriff’s Department interim sheriff and executive officer Neal B. Tyler.
Police respond to about 38 million alarm activations per year. These alarms are typically set up to prevent burglaries, but — unfortunately — between 94 and 98% of them are false alarms. Yet, officers put their lives at risk every single time an alarm sounds in order to protect and serve the community.