A "calculated execution": That is how Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators describe the recent tragic shooting death of one their own.
Sergeant Steve Owen was gunned down while on patrol, and as our Pat LaLama found out, his loss is being felt all throughout the community.
They came by the thousands, a deep sea of the strong and the brave, but on this day, shedding tears of blue.
They were united in mournful tribute to a man revered and beloved: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Owen. He gave 29 years of tireless service to the community before he was killed at the vengeful hands, cops say, of career criminal and parolee Trenton Trevon Lovell.
Sgt. Owen was answering a routine burglary call. He was shot execution-style, according to the sheriff's department.
"The suspect immediately shot Sgt. Owen. He then stood over him and executed Sgt. Owen by firing four additional rounds into his body," said L.A. County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.
Police say Lovell tried to ram another deputy with a patrol car, then took two teens hostage at knifepoint in a nearby home before Owen's fellow deputies were finally able shoot Lovell in the shoulder and get him into handcuffs. The alleged executioner lived. Among other charges, Lovell faces capital murder. Lovell has not yet entered a plea.
Owen clung to life in a hospital bed and took his last breath with his children and wife Tania, a sheriff's department arson detective, by his side to the very end.
Owen's spirit still thrives however, on the very streets he patrolled in the Southern California enclave of Antelope Valley, and where now they grieve in ways that are both unified and color-blind.
The Medal of Valor winner was a law-and-order man through and through. But colleagues say he showed immense compassion for some of those who landed on the criminal path, helping counsel many of the very suspects he arrested. Some of them even came to pay their respects.
"He was somebody who was the epitome of what it means to be a peace officer," said Sheriff McDonnell.
Owen was an avid equestrian, high school football coach, mentor and a huge fan of the Minnesota Vikings. The fallen sergeant was even scheduled to live a lifelong dream of seeing the team play. He was gunned down days before that dream would be realized. The team flew Owen's family to that very game and paid tribute before tens of thousands.
With the recent murders of Sgt. Owen, as well as two respected officers in nearby Palm Springs, and other police executions, the prevailing fear of open season on law enforcement has crippled recruitment. But Sgt. Owen is proof that there is great honor and reward in protecting and serving.