California governor attending service for slain sheriff
LANCASTER — Gov. Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris are among hundreds expected to attend a memorial service Thursday for a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant who was gunned down last week in the desert community of Lancaster.
Dozens of police motorcycles and cruisers led a long procession on their way to the service for Sgt. Steve Owen at the Lancaster Baptist Church.
Hundreds of law enforcement personnel and other first responders from across the U.S. are expected to attend along with Owen's family and friends.
Owen, a 29-year sheriff's veteran, was shot on Oct. 5 as he answered a report of a burglary at an apartment building in the city north of Los Angeles.
Sheriff Jim McDonnell praised Owen's professionalism and "good heart."
"He did a difficult job every day and made it look easy," McDonnell said Thursday as mourners began to gather. "Today we see badges, patches and uniforms all coming together as one team to celebrate a life well led."
Prosecutors said the gunman shot Owen, then stood over his body and fired four more shots.
The killer aimed the gun at another deputy, stole Owen's patrol car, rammed another patrol car, and held two teenagers at knifepoint before he was arrested, authorities said.
Trenton Lovell, a paroled robber with a long arrest record, has been charged with murder.
McDonnell said Thursday's funeral was especially poignant following police killings Wednesday night in Boston and last week in Palm Springs, California.
"We wish for our sake, for our family's sake and for our community's sake we can put this kind of behavior behind us and move forward," he said. "Unfortunately with the two murders in Palm Springs and what happened last night in Boston it doesn't seem like it's subsiding."
Lancaster Mayor R. Rex Parris said he will ask the City Council to rename a community park in Owen's name.