LANCASTER, Calif. (FOX 11 / CNS) - Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, having cut short a visit to Hawaii, will be back at work Thursday following the shooting death of a decorated sergeant and 29-year veteran in the first slaying of an on-duty member of the sheriff's department in more than a decade.
Area law enforcement officials and members of the public gathered Wednesday night outside the county coroner's office in Boyle Heights to mourn the death of 53-year-old Sgt. Steve Owen, who was killed by a parolee while responding to a residential burglary call in Lancaster earlier that day.
"The tragedy of a deputy sheriff such as Sergeant Steve Owen making the ultimate sacrifice has a massive impact on the whole law enforcement family," said a statement from McDonnell, who was cutting short a Hawaii visit because of the death.
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.
During the incident, officials at Antelope Valley College -- which is a few blocks south of the shooting scene -- advised students and staff to "shelter in place," and several area schools, including Lancaster High, were
placed on lockdown.
At one point as he was being sought and pursued, the gunman suffered a gunshot wound to the upper body and was taken by ambulance to a hospital. His name was not immediately released. No other suspects were being sought, according to the sheriff's department.
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.
Owen's adult son and daughter, as well his mother, were also at his bedside, Tyler said.
Owen received a Meritorious Conduct Medal in 2014, along with five of his Lancaster Station colleagues, for their roles in a pursuit and standoff situation involving a series of armed gang members.
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