One of Los Angeles’ finest, Steve Owen, was killed on Wednesday as he responded to a burglary call and the suspect shot him down, stole his patrol car and crashed it into another deputy’s vehicle.
“Legend”; a “cop’s cop”; “truly believed in people”; “compassionate”; “tough”: these are just a few of the descriptions given of 29-year Sheriff’s Department veteran Sgt. Steve Owen, according to the Los Angeles Times.
When a residential burglary call came in just after noon on Wednesday, Owen was the first on the scene. A LASD statement recounted what happened next: “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.”
The suspect, described as a black male adult on active parole, then attempted to commandeer Owen’s patrol vehicle, but was interrupted by a second deputy arriving on scene. A deputy-involved shooting ensued and the suspect rammed Owen’s vehicle head-on into the assisting deputy’s vehicle, according to the LASD. The suspect then ran from the scene and entered a residence where two frightened teenagers responded by alerting the Sheriff’s Department.
An LASD special weapons team entered the residence in an effort to protect the teens and the suspect fled out the back door. “Less-than-lethal” devices were used to prevent the suspect from re-entering and the teens were rescued. The fleeing suspect breached a wall, but was caught by deputies and taken into custody. He had sustained a gunshot to the upper torso. Investigators are not looking for others suspects as of late Wednesday.
“Today, we mourn the loss of a man who made a difference; for his family, his fellow deputies and his community. I want to thank the reporters who are taking the time to describe the numerous acts of kindness, service and mentoring that defined the life of Sergeant Steve Owen,” said Sheriff Jim McDonnell in a Thursday press conference.
Owen, 53, was a large man, but “very polite, sincere and genuine” according to Chief Bobby Denham, cited in the Times. Denham said he was known by the bad guys as fair and willing to talk, but tough on crime. A volunteer football coach, youth mentor, advisor, and equestrian, in the department’s mounted detail, Owen was “probably the most well-known law enforcement officer in the Antelope Valley,” said Denham.
Cmdr. Mike Parker remarked of Owen’s generosity that if a victim didn’t have food on the table, he would put it there.
Owen received the Sheriff’s Department’s Medal of Valor, along with other deputies, for his role in cracking a 2013 carjacking and kidnapping case, according to the Times.
McDonnell said in a separate 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.”