Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sergeant Shot in Lancaster, California

A deputy-involved shooting Wednesday near an apartment complex in Lancaster left a sergeant and deputy wounded and a suspect at large. He then stood over Owen's body and shot him four more times.

The man authorities say "executed" the L.A. County Sheriff's sergeant responding to a burglary call in Lancaster has been charged with capital murder and could face the death penalty if convicted. The alleged perpetrator was Trenton Trevon Lovell, a 27-year-old a parolee with a long history of arrests, The Associated Press reports.

Lovell allegedly shot Sgt. Owen in the face as the officer arrived on the scene of a service call Wednesday afternoon.

Sheriff department deputies and family members of Owen embraced outside an area hospital after the sergeant was pronounced dead. "We're all suffering", he said.

Authorities said he pointed a gun at a deputy who responded and was shot in the shoulder before stealing Owens' patrol auto, backing up and ramming another patrol vehicle with it. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced the charges.

Owen's partner, who was at the front of the building, ran to the sound of the gunfire and found the wounded sergeant. A group of sheriff's deputies, including Owen, was awarded with valor medals, the department's highest honor, in 2014 for saving a hostage being held at gunpoint in a vehicle. McDonnell then said Lovell moved on to more serious crimes that led to 11 arrests and a pair of terms in state prison. "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".

Lovell then fled into a home - where two teens were present - and was forced out by a special weapons team.

Two civilian groups have scheduled a 7 p.m. candlelight vigil for Owen at the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's station, according to a sheriff's spokesman. The deputy opened fire on the stolen cruiser and struck Lovell in the shoulder, but Lovell reversed the vehicle and rammed a second patrol auto at the scene, which in turn struck and injured the sheriff's deputy.

Owen's death comes at a time of extraordinary tension between police and the communities they serve, with protests over the fatal police shootings of black men erupting around the country and the public still grappling with the assassination of five police officers by a gunman in Dallas over the summer.

It wasn't clear whether the attacker knew they were there, Katz said.

In 2014, Owen was one of the several deputies from the Lancaster station who were honored by the Sheriff's Department after they captured a gunman in a bulletproof vest who had taken a driver hostage and used him as a human shield after a police chase.

Lovell was on parole following a 2009 conviction and six-year prison sentence for robbing a USC community safety officer at gunpoint, the Los Angeles Times reported.

  • Larry Hoffman