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Hundreds attend funeral for California sheriff shot “execution-style”

LANCASTER, Calif. — Hundreds of law enforcement officers, friends and relatives showed up Thursday morning in California to pay their respects to a sheriff who was shot in a “calculated execution.”

Steve Owen was killed after responding to a robbery-in-progress call on Oct. 5, 2016.

Steve Owen, 53, was killed in Lancaster, Calif. when responding to a robbery-in-progress call on Oct. 5, 2016. (Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Owen, 53, was gunned down last week when answering a burglary-in-progress call in Lancaster, California.

“This has been a very dark day for the LA County Sheriff’s Department,” Capt. Steve Katz said on Oct. 5, the day of the incident. “We’re all suffering now. His family certainly is suffering, his law enforcement family is suffering. It doesn’t get worse than this.”

Police arrested 27-year-old Trenton Lovell near the scene of the shooting in the Los Angeles suburb and charged him with Owen’s murder. Sheriff Jim McDonnell told reporters that Lovell shot Owen, a 29-year department veteran, then stood over his body and fired four more times.

Lovell tried to get away in Owen’s patrol car, but rear-ended another police car and fled on foot, officials said. Lovell was shot in the torso when trying to flee from a nearby house he was hiding in, and was charged after getting treated at a hospital, police said. He is being held without bail.

“Somebody has to go when somebody calls for help. In this case, Steve went and got there first,” sheriff’s Executive Officer Neal Tyler said. “He was shot for his efforts and made the ultimate sacrifice.”

Owen’s wife and two children were able to see Owen in the hospital before he died, officials said.

“We want to say thank you for the love and support you have shown our family as we mourn the loss of our husband, father, brother, uncle, son, and ultimately our HERO, Sgt. Steve Owen,” the family said in a statement.

The funeral Thursday morning in Lancaster was closed to the general public because of the large number of people expected to attend. A procession through the streets of Lancaster was held before the service, the route lined with police officers, and patrol cars and motorcycles.

The service, which started at 10 a.m. local time, is being livestreamed by the Los Angeles County sheriff’s department.

CNN, the Associated Press, PIX11 affiliate KTLA, and PIX11 digital producer Paige Leskin contributed to this report.