LANCASTER – The parolee accused of killing a sheriff’s sergeant in Lancaster first wounded the lawman and then executed him with four additional shots once he was down, Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell said Thursday.
Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, was gunned down around 12:30 p.m. Wednesday as he and a deputy responded to a 911 call from a woman reporting a burglary at an apartment building in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7.
The man suspected of killing Owen — Trenton Trevon Lovell, 27, of Lancaster — was wounded in a shoulder by a deputy but ultimately arrested and booked on suspicion of murder. He was being held without bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility.
McDonnell said at a news conference Thursday at the Lancaster Station that Lovell — whose name the sheriff refused to utter — has been arrested 11 times, first as a juvenile on suspicion of selling marijuana, and was jailed or imprisoned twice.
He shot Owen behind a residence after being confronted by the sergeant, who radioed that he had the suspect at gunpoint before he was shot, McDonnell said.
“Sgt. Owen approached the suspect in response to a burglary call,” McDonnell said. “The suspect immediately shot Sgt. Owen. He then stood over and executed Sgt. Owen by firing four additional rounds into his body. He then unsuccessfully searched the body for the sergeant’s weapon with the intent to use it to murder the first responding deputy.”
That deputy fired numerous times at Lovell, who had pointed his weapon at him, striking the suspect once in the shoulder, the sheriff said.
“Not only did the suspect want to kill our deputies, he held two teenagers hostage in a neighboring house until they were rescued by the heroic efforts of our Special Enforcement Bureau and our Lancaster Station personnel. He was subsequently arrested in the surrounding neighborhood without further incident.”
While answering a reporter’s question, McDonnell took issue with legislation allowing some criminals to cycle through the justice system, repeatedly ending up back in communities to offend once again.
“I think it’s time that we had a serious conversation,” he said. “We all believe in second chances and a chance for redemption and that’s what America is all about, but there are a limited number of chances where somebody doesn’t get a free pass to continue to do this type of … violence that we see over and over again in so many different cases.”
McDonnell called on the public to carefully consider any proposed legislation regarding the incarceration of convicted criminals.
He also said if Lovell is found guilty of murdering Owen, the death penalty would be appropriate.
That was the sentence given to then-27-year-old gang member Jose Luis Orozco, the last man who killed a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy. He was found guilty of first-degree murder with the special circumstances of murder of a police officer and possession of a firearm by a felon for fatally shooting Deputy Jerry Ortiz, 35, on June 24, 2005, as Ortiz conducted a shooting investigation in Hawaiian Gardens.
After Owen was shot, the first responding deputy, who was at the front of the apartment complex, ran toward the gunfire and found the wounded sergeant, Sheriff’s Capt. Steve Katz said on Wednesday.
“The suspect fled from that area and the deputy gave chase on foot,” Katz said.
The gunman then ran to the front of the location and attempted to commandeer the sergeant’s patrol car, ramming a deputy’s cruiser in the process.
The deputy opened fire and Lovell fled on foot.
A large cordon was established to contain the suspect, who entered another home, where there were two teenagers, Katz said.
The teens “were ultimately able to inform law enforcement of the presence of the suspect at that location,” Katz said, and an immediate rescue plan was put into effect.
A sheriff’s SWAT team entered the home to save the teens while the suspect left through a rear door. “Less than lethal” devices were deployed to prevent the suspect from re-entering the home, said Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez.
The gunman continued to try to escape and attempted to climb over a wall, but he was confronted by deputies and taken into custody, Navarro-Suarez said, adding that a firearm was recovered at the scene.
Owen was taken to a hospital, where he later died.
“We were fortunate in being able to find his wife, who is an Arson- Explosives detective in our department, and get her to the hospital … before Steve succumbed,” sheriff’s Executive Officer Neal Tyler told reporters.
One of Owen’s adult sons and his stepdaughter, as well his mother, also were at his bedside, Tyler said.
McDonnell, who cut short a trip to a conference in Hawaii to return to the Southland following Owen’s death, met earlier with Owen’s family and began Thursday’s news conference by paying tribute to the sergeant.
“Today we mourn the loss of a man who made a difference — to his family, to his fellow deputies and his community,” he said.
Owen received a Meritorious Conduct Medal in 2014, along with five of his Lancaster Station colleagues, for their roles in a pursuit and carjacking situation that ended with deputies using Tasers to capture an armed suspect and rescue the carjacked motorist.
According to court records cited by the Los Angeles Times, Lovell’s criminal past includes a 2009 conviction for robbing a USC community safety officer at gunpoint. He was sentenced to six years in prison and was on parole for that offense at the time of Wednesday’s shooting.
Lovell pleaded no contest in 2008 to resisting arrest and was sentenced to 90 days in jail, The Times reported. He pleaded no contest in September 2015 to DUI causing injury, and was ordered to enroll in a drug and alcohol counseling program and complete a first-offender program.
A memorial of candles, flowers, balloons, and condolence cards continued to grow outside the Lancaster Station, where deputies were back at work while coping with the death of their long-time colleague, a 29-year department veteran who had been promoted to sergeant five years ago.
One man told the Los Angeles Times he was there to offer prayers for Owen, who had arrested him several years ago, but who had since counseled him and was a father figure to him.
“This guy, when I was in trouble, kept me straight,” Bishop Vaughn said.
The county Board of Supervisors requested flags at all county buildings to remain lowered at half-staff in memory of Owen, whose body was taken Thursday from the county coroner’s facility in Boyle Heights to a mortuary in Lancaster.
A procession of dozens of law enforcement vehicles accompanied the hearse along the route.
On Wednesday, McDonnell offered a statement of condolence to Owen’s family.
“We all mourn together and our hearts go out especially to Steve’s immediate family Tania (his wife), his two adult sons Brandon and Chad, a stepdaughter Shannon and his mother Millie,” McDonnell said.
Previous related story: Sheriff’s sergeant slain in Lancaster
69 comments for "Suspect executed sergeant after wounding him, sheriff says"
Sad days says
Wake up people.wake up people.the gangs in AV.
Criminals don’t care about you or me.
We are fish for them.we need a law enforcement ran from the AV
Not county.with are own jails.with are own rehab-programs.
AV is not the same ,to many agendas
That won’t work
The force is a ruff career challenge it’s filled with minor league criminals and major
League .players .trying to score.
Well we must stay true with the resources the state and county give us.
We must respect the life they place in front of ares
Wemust value life to the fullest.
We must have programs to include and promote self worth ,value in prosper honest
Be transparent with equal visions unity we can make it.
City,county and state .
If we fill are lives with seeds of hope are roots are truth.
To the member of the gang life . to that life there is time to choose ,
Choose now to leave that way.you are better and more important then a membership
.happy ness always comes when you are not tied to a membership.
FK AV says
What come around goes around.
Dawn Michelle Reynolds says
I totally don’t understand why Sergeant Ownens, was alone at the time he approach the robbery suspect. There is a lot of people that move from L.A. here & some I am sure come from the hard ruthless part of L.A. which is something they should be aware of. Just because it was on the west perhaps in a better neighborhood doesn’t mean you won’t find those kind of people every where up here.
Two officers arrived on scene, one covered the front while the other went to the back. That is why he was alone as they assessed the situation.
Very few officers on the streets to cover a population of almost half a million people.
Colin Chapman says
Sorry .but WHAT THE. F$%*¢ HAPPEND with the L E A P S !?!?!! I thought the mayor, when he was all “nah nah. . Its not for spying , its for giving our deputys a heads up with vital information the instant the call comes in.” …nice ..and to me- what really knocks me out ,is that I can not remember a time when I DONT see or hear that dang plane doing its best helicopter impersonation. I tell you guys what ..LEAPS failed me BIGTIME ….is that why air 29 is always code 6 ? Because of leaps . Im sad and dissapointed .
May sgt. O heroic LEGACY live strong through the ages of this lands
Shane Falco…. I was behind the drive up the 14 and your brotherhood between EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, and sheriff was the most beautiful and touching experience I have ever witnessed. My father was LASD and people always say negative things to me about it. He was a hard butt… However he told us what he experienced out there. I don’t think Tim Scott can picture a child being beat to death while sheriff arrest the abuser just for the court system to let the abuser go to raise and possibly beat another child… Of course this is just an example of day to day things our sheriffs witness. The Tims of the world are hiding behind the face of crime… They hate cops because they did something wrong. That’s it! I was buying condulances cards yesterday for Sargeant Owens wife…. And was verbally put down by someone. People we all bleed red! The lord made us all human beings. I am sorry for the loss of your bother… From the blue. God bless you all for your service I am grateful everyday…..
Listen all you know it alls thee is a human life lost here ,I would like you people here to do this job ,u piss ur pants or run ,as I see I would have empty my gun and reloaded and made sure ,I don’t care about color white ,Mexican black or colored he didn’t need to live ,as that said Tim Scott if it was ur dad or family you be crying and butt head u need a brain adjustment and others on here too
Tim Scott says
Thanks for the laughs. Really no other way to respond to this.
Thank you for removing the slander that may have put another officer in harms way, I have let the officer and the police know, that there was a person
making accusation with no proof that may and could put another officer in harm. I am thankful for your monitoring of this post.
Tim Scott says
Are you as on the ball when officers expand the enmity between law enforcement and the community? The behavior of bad cops is what created the current state of near warfare. That puts all cops at risk. So I ask again, are you johnny on the spot there, or are you one of those who view police misconduct with the sycophant’s eye and say “well, that’s okay.”
In several of your incredibly benighted comments, you’ve used the word ‘sycophant’ egregiously out of context. Before you feel the need to enlighten all of us with your lack of knowledge on why police-community relations are, please head to dictionary.com and make sure you understand the definition of the word you’re using. I’m sure you heard it used somewhere and felt empowered by adding an intelligent-sounding word to your lexicon, but it’s fairly important to know what the word your using means before you start blindly mixing into your sentences.
I’m begging you to shut your computer down and figure out a way to do something with your life that matters for once. Your mindless comments aren’t accomplishing anything here except upsetting people who are mourning the loss of an incredibly great Sheriff.
Susan B says
@Tim Scott, you are a bleeding heart Liberal who hates law enforcement. So where is the “black lives matter” now? Why aren’t they protesting. It was a black man who murdered an innocent deputy Sargent who was doing his job.
Ray Mauldin says
He radioed that he had a suspect at gunpoint. Damned political correctness. Perp drew and fired first. Hesitate and die. .
Tim Scott says
What exactly does “political correctness” have to do with this?
Kathryn McIntyre says
Maybe someday this kind of crap thinking will go away and people like this thug will no longer be a threat to our great law enforcement and the good people of the USA. God speed to this officer’s family and me he rest in peace.
Tim, you’re not stupid. You know what it means
MIMI LEACH says
OUR CONDOLENCES TO ALL OWENS FAMILY MEMBERS, TO THE CITY OF LANCASTERS SHERIFFS DEPT & TO ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT IN
THE ANTELOPE VALLEY……MAY WE ALL CELEBRATE THE LIFE OF:
SGT. STEVE OWENS, R.I.P.
MIMI & RON LEACH,
Our Condolences and prayers to the family of Officer Owen:
Cops lives matter
Seriously? That was unnecessary.
Prayers for Steve Owen and his family. Where is the picture of Trevon? We know he is a colored man but the press won’t show his picture.
Texas001 stfu no need to say colored man yall white ass people (POLICE) always killing our colored men so who gives a fuc* now you see how we feel you racist a**
Mr. Wolfe says
The funny thing is that they tried to not make it racial but you took it there. You want to sit there and put the blame on all cops in general for the mistakes of a few but you want to get all upset when the shoe is on the other foot. Let’s talk about all the black on black crime. The innocent children that are shot and killed every year by drive byes by “colored men” who choose a gang lifestyle. So should we classify all black men by the actions of those. According to you that is what we should do. I will tell you that he is lucky that I wasn’t one of the arresting officers because i would have executed him like the way he did to a true community hero. So I say to you F*ck Black Lives Matter and all that it stands for.
Amen to that!
Michele Lejeune says
YOU HIT THE NAIL ON THE HEAD, Mr. Wolf!
Blue Lives Don't Matter says
Blacc Lives Matter!!! He was a cop that murdered nd he got murdered.. Karma is u kno wat lol…
Who exactly did he murder?
How in the hell did this get passed your moderator, you [removed] sleeping…Blue Lives Don’t Matter comment should never have been posted. You have let it sit here for 3 days, wtf is wrong with the staff at the A.V. Times?
That was so very rude & unnecessary! For your information I am pretty sure the cops kill some every day & it’s NOT JUST BLACKS! There’s a lot of Good Cops & they have a hard job. Try to put yourself in thier shoes & then tell me how you would Handel it. Although I do believe they should get more better training in dealing with mental people & try using the stune gun instead of the hand gun.
Why does the press need to show him? ! Because him being another black man means all black folks are bad right ? #blacklivesmater what was done to this officer is terrible but what’s far more terrible is what’s being done to innocent black men and women.
No innocent life is more valuable than another. So, no, this isn’t far more terrible. But thanks for your input.
Innocent black men and women??? really? police don’t know about these so called innocent folks you speak of unless they are called to attention regarding being lawless….this man was a burglar….was he innocent and just walking down the street? If you don’t commit a crime, the police don’t care about you..tired of the BLM saying everyone is innocent and just gunned down..no one deserves to die in this manner….NO ONE should be executed, criminals have a choice, give up and live…This officer could have shot him immediately but he didn’t….We have the best officers here in the Antelope Valley!!!
He does not deserve any press time. Most criminals do not, until they are released back out into the population, then they should warn us so we can all keep an eye on the person (or offer them support in trying to become part of the ‘lawful’ citizens.)
Sherwood Schwartz says
The man that shot Steve Owen never deserves to become a “Lawful Citizen” once again. He does not deserve a name or anything
Although I am traveling abroad in Greece I mourn the life of a great officer My thoughts and prayers are with his family wife of retired LACFD.
Wendy Wilson says
Condolences to the Owen family and the Las Enforcement family of the Sheriff’s Department. I retired from Lancaster station this year and I am still shocked in finding out what has happened to a great Sergeant. God bless the Owen Family and the Law Enforcement Community.
patricia woods, jodi arbetman, amanda deems says
God has a new angel, his name is Sargent Steve Owen. Lord hold him and his family tight as this tremendous saddness prevails with such a senseless tragedy. .
Dave Owens says
I think the key thing to note in this story is that the other deputy ran toward the gunfire. That’s what they do. Run toward the gunfire to keep us safe.
Tim Scott says
They run towards gunfire because they are adrenaline junkies who crave the excitement of being in a shootout…and count on winning, though in this case the odds caught up. Catching a cop killer who showed no inclination to kill any non-cops didn’t really make me any safer.
That bit of blatant sycophant propaganda squashed, my condolences to the families.
They run toward the gunfire because that’s their job. Not because they are adrenaline junkies. And the reason the cops were there in the first place was for a response to a burglary call, to keep people safe. Your statement is ignorant and unwarranted.
Tim Scott says
Some burglar was stealing PEOPLE? WOW!!!!
They were there protecting property, not people. Of course that isn’t as dramatic so it seldom makes the cut into a sycophant’s comments.
It is particularly sad when lives are lost over property.
BLUE LIVES MATTER says
Tim you should be ashamed of yourself .. using this forum to again push your BS liberal beliefs. Have some respect.This area is being overrun with criminals from LA. These deputies put their lives on the line everyday to try and keep this valley safe.. god bless them and may Sergeant Owen Rest In Peace
Derek webb says
If the cop hadn’t confronted that guy, a regular citizen might have and been killed, history has proven that people will protect their stuff, even when they can’t fight as well as the cops can.
Therefore the police were protecting people during this confrontation.
Tim Scott says
So, first off, if thousands of deputies are putting their lives on the line every day how come none had been killed in the previous decade? Not that I’m eager for deputy killings, just pointing out that there is no evidence to support that claim….just like there is no accuracy in your wild hyperbole about “this area being overrun with criminals.”
This kind of hyperbolic nonsense is the stuff sycophants trot out every time a cop is glaringly in the wrong. You should save it for then rather than opening this argument here, out of respect.
Again, my condolences to the families.
Tim Scott says
Derek…your position has some merit. It does rely on the assumption that this guy would not only continue burglary as a way of life but would at some point make a mistake he had not yet made, ie getting confronted by some civilian. I’m not joining in that assumption, but I’ll not discount it either.
My name isn't important says
The Antelope Valley hadn’t lost a deputy in a shooting since 2003. They are trained extensively to know how to approach dangerous situations without losing their lives. So hopefully that answers your question that middle school students would know the answer to.
To say these deputies were “protecting property, not people” is as ignorant as it gets. A man with a gun is breaking into homes to steal god knows what. There’s a reason he has a gun in the first place. This is a man with an extensive history of violent crimes, who clearly had no issue murdering a law enforcement officer in cold blood execution style. What makes you think he wouldn’t have taken innocent lives inside these homes if he was confronted?
I don’t know if you’re trying to stir the pot with these BS comments or if you’re actually as stupid as your comments portray you to be, but please keep that crap to your discussions with your stupid conspiracy theorist friends. An extremely good man lost his life yesterday for no reason. A man who raised a great family and almost certainly could not have been a better officer for the Sheriff’s department. My friend’s father is gone. Show some respect and take comments like this elsewhere. This is neither the time nor the place for things like that.
What the hell is wrong you…not protecting people? The thug went into apartment with people in it after he just shot a cop. You sir cannot possibly be that ignorant
Tim Scott says
There are lots of people who have no inclination to kill innocent people who don’t consider cops “innocent” and might kill one out of hand. So the “he killed a cop think what a threat he was to you” bit just doesn’t work any more.
The Chris Dorner case provided a perfect example. The cops were constantly on media telling everyone how dangerous he was, and at the end of the day he killed some cops and the cops looking for him shot up a couple people delivering newspapers and lord only knows who else. The expectation that the public should just always take their side was clearly displayed and to poor effect.
You can call me names if you want, but that won’t change the reality that cops have set themselves up as the enemies of the community only tolerated as the lesser of two evils. Cops are in some, and perhaps many, cases starting to work to reverse that, but you sycophants aren’t helping.
Once again, my condolences to the families.
Still Not Important says
Finishing your comment with “my condolences to the family” doesn’t exonerate you from all the BS hate you’re spewing. The cops haven’t set themselves up as the enemies of the public. The media is 100% responsible for that. My dad has been in law enforcement for over 20 years. I’ve seen the massive discrepancy between what he’s told me about an incident and how the media has portrayed that or left important details out to paint a picture that’s more of an “exciting” news story.
I’m not trying to call you names. I’m trying to tell you that this man who shot and killed a Sheriff’a Sergeant (including standing over him and shooting him repeatedly afterwards) is someone that has no respect for human life. He would have just as easily taken a life inside one of those homes. Please consider things like before you make comments like “he was protecting property, not people”. He was absolutely protecting this community
Free Trevor says
I totally agree Tim.. Plus I’ve been told that Owens has killed two people in tha pass. That’s Karma fo that ass
Shane Falco says
Welcome to Tim Scott. He’s had “negative contact” with law enforcement and now blames them for the ills of the antelope valley.
Oh he will tell you of his “successful business” that he made so much money that he felt so compelled to just “give” it to his employees, yet from just my few months of commenting here, you can see he does not have the business acumen to run a side street taco cart.
As a former deputy and current firefighter myself with relatives and friends all throughout law enforcement, it is incredibly sad to see any of our people killed in the line of duty. It is also uplifting to see the outpouring of support from the public on the overpasses and showing of respect while Tim takes potshots online.
Guys like Tim won’t ever and can’t ever comprehend the blue and red families and the bonds we have when our families are grieving and how we support each other by the hundreds and the thousands.
Tim has his hate and distorted view of deputies, police officers and their families, he has a computer and a townhome in east Palmdale and can only anonymously defend the bottomfeeder cockroaches like himself.
Sadly for him, that is as close as he will ever have to a any brotherhood we in the police and fire service have.
Dorner began his spree by killing two civilians, genius. He murdered the daughter of his defense counsel and her fiance. Your premise is so intrinsically flawed it falls apart with just a little string pulling.
Tim Scott says
Wow, Shane really went all out there. I never read his nonsense any more unless it is a one liner, but I guess I hit a nerve.
As to Dorner’s attack on his defense representation, that’s easily included in his overall attack on police, since in his view his ‘defense’ was in league with the prosecution on behalf of the police. I’m not saying I’m convinced he was right, but it isn’t like he demonstrated any threat to the general public…like driving around predawn shooting at newspaper carriers.
There were people in the house he was breaking into. He then after the shooting broke in and took hostages. Most of the time “Tim” you crap is mildly amusing but I warn you you are treading in uncharted waters right now. Best that you shut up.
Adrenaline junkie? You have no idea the courage it takes to run into a gunfight you pathetic little man. You hide behind constitutional amendments we uphold every day and spew your lies on this page. You are a coward who does not deserve any recognition and will die alone in your apartment with disgrace and shame leaving only your cowardice and bitterness to your kin.
why was he escorted to LA then returned to Lancaster today(10.6.16)?
He was transported to LA for autopsy and transported back to a Lancaster mortuary to prepare for the funeral.
It was a bit odd the time of day they chose as it made the normal traffic commute from the valley of 1.2hrs into 3.5hrs I would think they would pick afternoon vs already crap traffic. I would think it would have made their job easier. I heard them on the radio talking on as they would stop traffic behind they would approach heavy traffic in front.
mayra preciado says
Rest In Peace Srgnt Owens thank you for your work and protection prayers for all as we mourne you you have parted and will always be remembered condolences to the family ,In jesus name we place everyone in prayer that our Lord father will heal all the pain and serve justice to you lord we bring it and pray Ameñ R.I.P Our Hero officer Owens
Prayers to the Owen’s Family. A great loss to the community of Lancaster. A community that has this much outpour of love and admiration for Sgt Owen is not a lost community! It is a community of hope and love and with that there is unity. To come together and offer solace Is much stronger than any unit of hatred.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family
The Rodriguez family
Scott Pierce says
Sad news. May he rest in peace.
S. Tucker says
We are so saddened by your loss. There are no word that could comfort. You are all in our prayers that God can bring you comfort from the pain you feel for the loss of your husband and father. Sending hugs, The Tucker Family
God bless Sgt. Owen and the family he leaves behind. There’s not a hot enough place in Hell for the filth that committed this heinous act.
John Harbeson says
Rest in peace I am a brother of retired Sheriff I believe 30 years I pray for his family and all law enforcement,
Sharon Hill says
Our Condolences go out to you ( Tania)and your family. We also mourn the loss of your husband Steve ,as we were both Volunteers in the Lancaster Station. It is such a sad day for us also, just knowing a Good Deputy died.. May God be with you all. Stay safe. Sincerely Lewis and Sharon Hill
My prayers are with the Owen family. Lord please keep them in your loving arms help them get thru this and let them know you Are there with now and always this I pray in Jeses name AMEN.