Authorities on Thursday identified a 27-year-old Lancaster resident as the man suspected of fatally shooting a sheriff’s sergeant whom Sheriff Jim McDonnell described as being “executed.”
Trenton Trevon Lovell was arrested Wednesday and booked on suspicion of murder, according to a sheriff’s news release. He is being held without bail.
Lovell is accused of killing Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lancaster Station Sgt. Steve Owen, a 29-year-veteran of the department.
The 53-year-old sheriff’s sergeant died at a hospital after being shot shortly after noon while responding to a residential burglary call in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7, according to sheriff’s homicide Capt. Steven Katz.
He was found with a gunshot wound to the face by another deputy who had responded to the scene in a separate vehicle and heard gunfire in the rear of the residence.
Speaking Thursday afternoon, McDonnell said Lovell “immediately” shot Owen as he responded to the burglary call.
“He then stood over him and executed Sgt. Owen by firing four additional rounds into his body,” McDonnell said.
Lovell unsuccessfully searched for Owen’s weapon with the intent of using it on the other responding deputy, McDonnell said. The deputy fired at Lovell, hitting him in the shoulder.
The shooter initially got away, getting into Owen’s vehicle and ramming the deputy’s car before getting out and running from the deputy, who fired at him. He was taken into a custody near another home after an intense search.
Lovell resided in an apartment not far from where the break-in occurred, neighbors told the Los Angeles Times.
The suspect — who was reported to have a “hot temper” — had a lengthy criminal record and a history of violent offenses, according to court documents obtained by the newspaper.
McDonnell said Lovell had been arrested 11 times, beginning as a juvenile.
He twice served state prison sentences, McDonnell said, refusing to identify suspect Trenton Trevon Lovell by name.
He was sentenced to six years in prison after his 2009 conviction in an armed robbery of a USC community safety officer. Lovell was on parole for that offense at the time he was suspected of shooting Owen, the Times reported.
Prior to that, he had entered a no contest plea in July 2008 on a charge of resisting arrest; he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, L.A. County Superior Court records obtained by the Times showed.
Lovell also pleaded no contest to drunken driving and causing injury to another person in September 2015. In that case, he was ordered to complete a nine-month program for first offenders and undergo drug and alcohol counseling, according to the newspaper.
He had a court appearance related to the 2015 case scheduled for Oct. 24.
Lovell was arrested around 2 p.m. Wednesday and had initially been hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the upper torso, Katz said. Jail records indicated he was booked into the Twin Towers Correctional Facility just before 5:30 p.m. the same day.
While Lovell was behind bars, hundreds of law enforcement officials, firefighters and Lancaster community members gathered Wednesday night to honor the late sergeant with a procession.
Flowers, candles and balloons were part of a growing memorial outside the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station in remembrance of Owen, who was described as a beloved and extremely popular member of the Antelope Valley community.
Owen is survived by wife Tania, who is a sheriff’s arson/explosives detective, his sons Chad and Brandon, stepdaughter Shannon and his mother Millie.
Several family members, including his wife, were able to get to the hospital and see Owen before he died, according to sheriff’s Executive Officer Neal Tyler.
“This has been a very dark day for the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department,” Katz said. “We’re all suffering now. His family certainly is suffering, his law enforcement family is suffering. It doesn’t get worse than this.”