LA Sheriff's Department cruiser
Photo by John Schreiber

On the one-year anniversary of his killing, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant was honored Thursday as family members joined authorities to dedicate a section of State Route 14 in the Antelope Valley in his name.

“The outpouring by the Antelope Valley community has remained steady and strong,” Sheriff Jim McDonnell said at a ceremony one year to the day that sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen was shot to death last Oct. 5 as he responded to a young mother’s 911 call reporting a burglary at her apartment building in Lancaster. “Steve Owen was indeed a department leader and had a profound impact in his role as a law enforcement officer.”

The sheriff noted that the freeway signs — which designate a portion of the highway as the Sgt. Steven C. Owen Los Angeles County Sheriff Memorial Highway — are the fourth tribute to the slain 53-year-old veteran law enforcement officer in the area.

The park where the ceremony was held was re-named in Owen’s honor, along with an equestrian center at the Pitchess Detention Center and a horse trail in Antelope Valley, the sheriff said.

Owen’s wife, Tania, who is a Los Angeles County sheriff’s detective, called it “truly an honor and a pleasure for myself and my family to be here today just to see everyone come together today to honor someone that we absolutely love and admire to this day.”

“My husband, Sgt. Steve Owen, was a law enforcement officer to the community, but he was our world, he was my world, my best friend and the love of my life,” she said, calling him a “father figure and a leader to the men and women he led and a friend to the community.”

Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale, who introduced state legislation that allowed for a section of the highway to be named in Owen’s honor, called him “one of Lancaster’s finest heroes.”

“I can assure you that the Antelope Valley will never, ever forget Sergeant Owen’s sacrifice,” Lackey said, noting that the slain sergeant was committed not only to enforcing the laws of the land but was also a “very, very dedicated community servant.”

Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said Owen “made the ultimate sacrifice in order to ensure the safety of our residents and their families, adding that the dedication of a portion of the freeway in Owen’s honor will serve as a continuous reminder of his selfless act, as well as a lesson to us all that we each have the ability to improve our community — much like Steve did every day.”

Later this week, Caltrans workers will install the freeway signs, which were paid for with private funds from the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association.

The sheriff’s Lancaster and Palmdale stations also posted tributes to Owen on Twitter.

“Sun comes up on the 1 year anniversary of our beloved Sgt. Steve Owen. We are here paying our respects,” read a Tweet from the sheriff’s Lancaster station, which showed sheriff’s deputies paying tribute to the slain sergeant.

A Tweet that was posted by the sheriff’s Palmdale station read, “One year ago, we lost a hero. Sergeant Steve Owen’s legacy will always continue to live on in the Antelope Valley.”

Trenton Trevon Lovell, a parolee accused of shooting Owen as he responded to the burglary call and then pumping four additional shots into the veteran lawman once he was down, remains jailed without bail while awaiting a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence to require him to stand trial on murder and other charges.

Lovell, now 28, allegedly held a brother and sister in a neighboring house in Lancaster at knifepoint after convincing them that he had been robbed and needed help after the shooting, authorities said. The young woman, Nancy Arrowsmith-Hart, secretly texted her mother, who alerted sheriff’s deputies about Lovell’s location, and her brother, Trevor Hart, locked the family’s barking dog in a room where guns were stored, according to the District Attorney’s Office, which honored the two siblings as “courageous citizens” in April.

–City News Service

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