A Los Angeles County sheriff’s sergeant was shot and killed on Wednesday as he responded to a call of a residential burglary in Lancaster, about 70 miles north of Los Angeles.
Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, a 29-year police veteran, was rushed to Antelope Valley Hospital where he died. He had been shot in the face.
"I think it goes without saying — this is a very dark day for the sheriff's department," Capt. Steve Katz said.
"We lost a brave sergeant today," sheriff’s Executive Officer Neal Tyler told a news conference.
The shooting occurred about 12:30 p.m., sparking a manhunt for the shooter. The suspected gunman escaped on foot after trying to steal Owen’s patrol car, KABC reported. He subsequently was arrested about 2 p.m., sheriff’s spokeswoman Nicole Nishida said. Katz identified the suspect as a parolee.
"This always seems to happen to the most beloved deputies," Mayor R. Rex Parris, who described the deputy as a friend, told the Los Angeles Times .
The sheriff’s department initially reported two deputies had been shot but later said the second deputy had been injured but the extent of his injuries were not specified.
The incident followed at least four officer-involved shootings in the area since Saturday, the Patch noted.
The site of the shooting was just north of the Antelope Valley College campus where students were advised to shelter in place. Several elementary schools and Lancaster High School were placed on lockdown.
A SWAT team and dozens of deputies were dispatched to the area.
KTLA reported aerial video showed a man emerging from a home and lying down in the backyard next to a swimming pool. He then walked to the front of the home’s garage and was arrested.
KNBC reported a weapon was recovered during the arrest, and there appeared to be six bullet holes in the patrol car’s windshield as well as damage to the passenger side.
Owen’s death brings the number of police officers killed so far this year to 95, the Officer Down Memorial Page indicates.