Jan 14, 2017
5 arrested in Owen's death
LANCASTER - Four Los Angeles men and a Lancaster teenager have been arrested on suspicion of attempting to help the parolee accused of shooting to death Sgt. Steve Owen escape as he was barricaded inside a home and surrounded by scores of law-enforcement officers.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials on Friday announced the five arrests but said they were not disclosing what information led them to the five or what the men were planning to do to help Trenton Lovell, who after Owen's shooting allegedly broke into a nearby home and for 90 minutes held two teens hostage while deputies surrounded the house.
"The men were called upon for Mr. Lovell to help him ... I can't tell you what they were going to do," homicide Lt. Steve Jauch said Friday.
Arrested were Lydell Herd, 31; Robert Thomas, 28; Richard Cowley, 24, and Larry Johnson, 27, all of Los Angeles, plus 18-year-old Deshawn Peterson of Lancaster.
All were arrested Thursday on arrest warrants at or near their residences, the Sheriff's Department said.
Thomas and Cowley were also arrested on suspicion of unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon, Johnson on suspicion of violating his parole from state prison, and Herd on suspicion of possession of narcotics for sale, officials said.
Homicide detectives made the arrests with assistance of personnel from the Sheriff's Department Major Crimes Bureau, Operation Safe Streets Bureau, Narcotics Bureau, Emergency Operations Bureau, Lancaster and Palmdale stations, and the county Department of Children and Family Services.
Detectives will present information to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office and ask them to file charges against the five.
Arrested after he came out of the house where the two teens were, Lovell is charged with one count of murder with the special circumstance allegations of murder for the purpose of avoiding or preventing a lawful arrest and murder of a peace officer. He also was charged with attempted murder with an allegation that he used a patrol car as a deadly and dangerous weapon, possession of a firearm by a felon with prior firearms convictions, and two counts each of first-degree residential robbery and false imprisonment by violence while armed with a knife.
District Attorney officials have said they have not yet decided whether to pursue the death penalty. The office's policy is to make the decision after the preliminary hearing.
Court records say Lovell was convicted of robbery in 2009, when he was 19, and sentenced to six years in prison, and he had a robbery conviction as a juvenile in 2006. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation records show that he was paroled from state prison in June 2014.
Court and sheriff's department records show Lovell was arrested in Los Angeles at least three times since his parole, starting a year after his release, but never served more than two weeks in jail. Besides being on parole, he was on probation for a 2015 arrest in the San Fernando Valley for drunk driving causing injury.
Owen, 53, was shot five times, including four shots at close range as he lay on the ground wounded, in the carport of an apartment complex in the 3200 block of West Avenue J-7 on Oct. 5.
A sheriff's homicide detective said Owen was one of the first two deputies to arrive on the burglary report and ran to the back of the complex to keep the burglar from escaping.
After shooting Owen, sheriff's officials said, the assailant tried to steal Owen's patrol car. Another deputy shot the man in the shoulder as he rammed Owen's patrol car into the other deputy's patrol car. The suspect ran into the nearby neighborhood.
Owen had worked at the Sheriff's Department for 29 years, of which nearly 25 were in the Antelope Valley.
Owen was a volunteer football coach at Paraclete High School, which his children attended, and also mentored local youth through the Sheriff's Explorer program.
He had worked as a patrol deputy, a gang detective, a school liaison deputy and as a detective at the Palmdale Sheriff's Station before being promoted five years ago to sergeant and working with Lancaster Sheriff's Station deputies on patrol and with Lancaster's anti-burglary unit.