LANCASTER, Calif. (KABC) -- Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, a Meritorious Conduct Medal recipient, was described as a prolific member of the sheriff's department.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said Owen was shot and killed by a burglary suspect Wednesday afternoon, officials said.
Antelope Valley community members and sheriff's deputies mourned Owen with a candlelight vigil in Lancaster Wednesday night. He was also honored in a law enforcement procession along the freeways as his body was transported from Lancaster to the coroner's office in Boyle Heights.
"It's a very difficult time, as you can imagine, for the many members of our department. We're all suffering," Capt. Steven Katz said during an afternoon press conference.
Katz said Owen's wife, his adult son and daughter, and his mother were able to see him in the hospital before he died.
Owen's wife is an arson explosives detective with the sheriff's department, officials said.
"Steve was doing what many, many, many deputies and police officers countrywide, nationwide are going to be doing today and tonight," Executive Officer Neal Tyler with the sheriff's department said.
Owen, who served with the sheriff's department for 29 years, was awarded the Meritorious Conduct Medal in 2014.
The sheriff's department said Owen helped rescue a hostage being held at gunpoint on Nov. 26, 2013.
Owen was instrumental in devising a plan to safely rescue the hostage, keep deputies out of harm's way and take the suspect into custody alive, according to the sheriff's department.
Sheriff's officials said Owen, who had spent the last five years at the sheriff's department's Lancaster station, was well known in his community.
"Steve was very important to the Antelope Valley community," Tyler said. "He's extremely popular with everyone up here because he goes above and beyond with respect to youth activities and community involvement."