The shooting occurred as Owen and his partner responded to a 911 call about 12:35 p.m. from a woman reporting a burglary in progress at an apartment building in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7, authorities said at a news conference.
The sergeant killed was Steve Owen, a 29-year department veteran, according to sheriff’s Executive Officer Neal Tyler.
“This has been a very dark day for the Sheriff’s Department,” Capt. Steve Katz said. “We are all suffering right now.”
As Owen, 53, checked the rear of the apartment building, a gunman appeared and shot him.
Owen’s partner, who was at the front of the building, ran to the rear and found the wounded sergeant. Owen was rushed to the hospital in a sheriff’s cruiser, Katz said. He died hours later.
The gunman, meanwhile, ran to the front and tried to steal Owen’s cruiser. Another sheriff’s deputy arrived and opened fire when the gunman threw the car into reverse and rammed another cruiser, injuring a deputy inside, Katz said.
After the collision, the gunman ran into a nearby home where two teenagers were inside. One teen was able to send a text message to alert authorities, Katz said. It was reported that the gunman held the two teens hostage for a period of time as SWAT team members attempted to engage the suspect.
Shortly after 2 p.m., sheriff’s SWAT deputies forced their way into the home and a man fled through the back, where he hopped a wall, Capt. Jack Ewell said. When the suspect eventually fled he sustained a gunshot wound.
The Suspect was not named, but said he is from the Antelope Valley and is on active parole. Investigators said the SWAT team shot the suspect once in the upper torso and found a weapon on him. The suspect was receiving treatment at a hospital ahead of his booking Wednesday.
Owen’s wife, who is a member of the department’s Arson Explosive Unit, along with their two children and the sergeant’s mother, managed to reach the hospital shortly before he died, Tyler said.
“Steve was very important to the Antelope Valley community,” Tyler said. “Steve clearly is very much a hero.”
It was reported that Owen was shot in the face.
It was also reported that another Deputy was injured during the event however the name of that Deputy or the extent of his injuries was not reported.