Monument honors fallen deputy
LANCASTER — The Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park is a testament to the late Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department sergeant’s life.
The memorial is in the center of the park, northwest of the children’s play area. The riderless horse with the boots placed backward in the stirrups is intended to symbolize the rider looking back toward the living one last time, before riding into the great beyond. The four monoliths surrounding the monument are fabricated from stainless steel, hard to shape and rough on the edges, like life can often be. They represent four cornerstones in Sgt. Owen’s life: Community, faith, family and courage.
The horse is placed facing west into the sunset with his head turned slightly to the right, looking northwest toward 30th Street West and Avenue K, where, on Oct. 5, 2016, Sgt. Owen was fatally shot in the line of duty.
Owen was a 29-year Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department veteran. He spent 24 years working in the Antelope Valley as a patrol deputy, gang detective, school liaison deputy and a detective at the Palmdale Sheriff’s Station, before being promoted to sergeant and working with Lancaster Sheriff’s Station deputies on patrol and with Lancaster’s anti-burglary unit.
An accomplished horseman, he also was a member of the Sheriff’s Department mounted unit.
On Monday afternoon, Mayor R. Rex Parris, Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Owen’s widow, Tania Owen, members of the Owen family and others, marked the official dedication and unveiling of the memorial.
“You can’t imagine how difficult it is to lose a loved one, especially in the line of duty,” Tania Owen said. “The support of the Sheriff’s Department, in particular, my family, the Lancaster Sheriff’s Station and the community, have helped my family and I through a very difficult time. Something we thought about as a family is, ‘Will Steve be forgotten and what will his legacy be?’ Well, events like these assure us that he isn’t forgotten and the community still remembers who he was and what he did for our community, how many hearts he touched, friends he made and so we know that his legacy will contin
ue to live on.”
Tania Owen, a retired sheriff’s detective, added the tremendous loss brought the family closer to God.
Parris said Oct. 5, 2016 was the worst day of his life as a mayor, as well as the worst day in a lot of people’s lives.
“When something like this happens, we learn more about somebody …,” he said. “The thing I came away with, with Steve, he wasn’t just a deputy. He wasn’t just a police officer. He was a man who every single day, seemed to try to be a better man … a better husband. He was somebody who worked at it every single day. It’s so fitting that we do this. It’s something that if we can have kids learn that story, that’s really what it’s about … trying to be better at those things.”
Parris credited Barger for helping to make the memorial a reality.
“She made the money appear,” Parris said. “And she didn’t hesitate. She was there with us from the beginning to now.”
Barger said she was told Steve Owen would probably not want all of the attention.
“He really didn’t do it for the accolades because it truly was his passion and was in his heart to do what’s right,” she said. “But I can’t think of anyone more deserving to be remembered by the community because he served so many in the community.”
Barger added Steve Owen’s death deeply rattled the community.
“Sgt. Owen was a cop’s cop, a man of faith, and a hero,” she said. “He was the go-to guy who could trust to fix any problem. When he wasn’t at work, he was a devoted and loving father to Chadd, Branden and Shannon and a husband to Tania, who, herself, spent a career as a sheriff’s deputy and a detective.”
About two years before his murder, Steve Owen was honored with the Meritorious Conduct Medal for his role in rescuing a carjacking victim held at gunpoint.
“Sgt. Owen and the deputies he led disarmed a carjacker and subdued him without firing a shot,” Barger said.
Villanueva said Steve Owen spent his entire life doing things the right way.
Students from the Learn4Life Charter School contributed to the memorial design. Art Thompson of A2ZFX Inc. and Sage Cheshire Aerospace built the memorial. He explained the significance of the monument and the four cornerstones, community, faith, family and courage.
“The horse actually looking through courage toward 30th and K, so there’s some symbolism there as well,” Thompson said.
He said the monument came together through the effort of many people in the community, including Mark Norris and JP Toneman,
“We created the monuments, a lot of pieces at our shop at A2ZFX and Sage Cheshire, but it’s really a contribution of so many people in our community that came together to make this happen. It will stand forever as monument to the family,” Thompson said.
The City of Lancaster held the unveiling and dedication ceremony for the Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park Monday evening.
City officials unveiled the Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial at Sgt. Steve Owen Memorial Park Monday evening.