The family of a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant who was shot and killed while responding to a burglary call this week thanked supporters in a public statement Saturday.
“We want to say thank you for the love and support you have shown our family as we mourn the loss of our husband, father, brother, uncle, son, and ultimately our HERO, Sgt. Steve Owen,” the statement, which was posted on Facebook, read.
“The continuous outpouring of encouragement, gratitude, and respect for him that has come from our community and across the nation has brought us the comfort and the strength needed to survive this tragedy. You all have truly touched our hearts.”
More than 1,000 people from the Lancaster community gathered for a vigil in Owen's honor Saturday night.
Attendee Christine Paez said the incident has been a bittersweet opportunity for residents to stand in solidarity.
“The community’s been very tight since this all happened," Paez said. "It’s kind of a crazy way to come together, but it’s an awesome way also because there’s different types, colors — everybody.”
Owen, 53, was shot after he arrived at a home in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7 just after noon Wednesday. Owen went around the back of the home to secure the area and was allegedly shot by Trenton Trevon Lovell.
Sheriff’s officials said Lovell then stood over Owen and shot him four times “execution-style.” Owen, who was a 29-year-veteran of the department, died after being taken to Antelope Valley Hospital.
Lovell, 27, was arrested after allegedly jumping into Owen’s patrol car and ramming it into another responding deputy’s vehicle. Lovell was shot during that incident.
He has been charged with capital murder in connection with the sergeant’s death.
Lovell, who was released from prison in 2014 after serving about four years for second-degree robbery, also faces attempted murder, weapons and burglary charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 14.
The Owen family shared that they have received support in a variety of ways, through written letters and shared stories.
“Steve paid the ultimate sacrifice, but his passing is uniting this community,” the statement reads.
“Rest assured, he will always be patrolling the streets of our community; you may not see him but he is there. He will be missed, but never forgotten.”
In the Facebook post Owen’s family shared “very personal photos" of his October 1999 wedding ceremony.
One photo shows a family portrait with Owen’s wife Tania, son Branden, now 24, daughter Shannon, now 22, and son Chadd, now 27.
Another photo shared by the family shows Owen giving symbolic vows to his daughter just before he gave his vows to his wife.
“It was the kind of person he was, always thoughtful of others' feelings and emotions before his own.”
The Sheriff’s Department and the Owen family will hold a memorial service to celebrate the sergeant’s life on Thursday.
The service will be held at Lancaster Baptist Church, 4030 East Lancaster Boulevard at 10 a.m.
A procession will begin at 8 a.m. and sheriff’s officials warn residents of intermittent or full closures along the route:
• Southbound Sierra Highway to East Avenue M (Columbia Way)
• Eastbound East Avenue M (Columbia Way) to 50th Street East
• Northbound 50th Street East to East Lancaster Boulevard
• Westbound on East Lancaster Boulevard to 40th Street East
• South on 40th Street East into the Lancaster Baptist Church
The service will be closed to the public, but department will live stream the event at https://live.lasd.org.