LANCASTER (CBSLA.com) — An emotional candlelight vigil was held Wednesday night to honor the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, who was killed in the line of duty earlier in the day in Lancaster.
At least 100 people showed up at the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station to honor the fallen deputy. Prayer, songs, candles and flowers were all part of the vigil to honor and remember Owen.
“I work here. I worked with him for 15 years,” said a woman, who saw him just hours before he was killed. She said she saw him walk by. “Then two hours later, he’s gone. This is senseless. I just don’t understand it,” she cried. “He was a people’s people. He was the kindest person. He was absolutely the best sergeant to work for, absolutely the best.”
Sgt. Owen had been with the sheriff’s department for 29 years. In 2014, he was part of a group to receive a medal of valor for stopping an armed gang member after a car chase, carjacking and hostage situation.
Last year, he played a part in rescuing a baby kidnapped by her mother’s pimp. We interviewed him back then.
“Had it been one of our hot desert days where heat’s over 100, 110, we might be talking about a different situation,” Owen said in July of 2015.
Colleagues CBS2/KCAL9’s Erica Nochlin spoke to all said Owen had a contagious smile and was proud to serve his community.
“We lost a true hero. We lost a person that was very loved in the community. He will definitely be missed,” Officer Gil Hernandez of the California Highway Patrol.
Tasha Williams, who works at an Arco store, where Owen patrolled, was beside herself when she found out she was killed in the line of duty Wednesday afternoon.
Eight years ago when Williams’ nephew got into trouble, Sgt. Owen kept him out of jail and sent him to counseling instead.
“He cared more about people than a paycheck,” Williams said as tears ran down her face. All cops are not bad cops, and that was one that is not a bad cop. He was fair. He was honest. I’m going to miss him.”
“He didn’t care about your past. I have a past. What he always said to me is that: ‘your past is your past, and it doesn’t speak for your present.’ And I’ll always remember those words with Sgt. Owen,” Williams added.