Slain Sgt. Steve Owen had planned a special graduation gift for his son, specifically flying him and other Owen family members to a Minnesota Vikings game in Minnesota this past weekend.
But, Owen, 53 years old and a 29-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday while responding to a residential burglary call in Lancaster.
So, when LASD deputies and fellow police officers learned of his plans, they worked together to make sure the special trip happened, said Brian Moriguchi, president of the Professional Peace Officers Association.
Six Owen family members, just as Owen had planned, were flown out to Minnesota this past weekend to see the Vikings beat the Houston Texans 31-13.
“Steve had been working on this trip for over a year,” Moriguchi said. “The family are big Vikings fans. So when his son had just graduated from a physical therapy program, as a celebration, he had planned this trip.
“So, we reached out to the Vikings organization,” Moriguchi said. “And, the Vikings owner got on the phone and told me ‘Absolutely, Not only we will have a tribute, we will make sure they (family) have a very special VIP experience.”
“This was our way of fulfilling the wish Steve had started for his family,” Moriguchi told The Signal Monday.
“It was kind of a miracle,” he said. “Hats off to the Vikings organization that stepped up.”
Moriguchi also commended the “police brotherhood” for also stepping up, because “that’s what it’s all about.”
Close to $50,000 has been raised for the Owen family in less than a week through a GoFundMe account managed by Moriguchi.
“It says more about people wanting to express condolences for the family,” he said.
Donations have been made by people across the country who were touched by Owen’s devotion and service. The money goes to the Professional Peace Officers Star And Shield Foundation.
“The response and the comments (on the fundraising website) show such an outpouring of support for the family,” he said.
Moriguchi, who is constant contact with the Owen family, said they’re still in shock.
Owen’s widow, Detective Tania Owen of the LASD’s Arson Explosives Detail, is still suffering from the sudden “brutal” loss of her husband, he said.
Although the Owen family is not yet talking to the media, family members issued a statement to the LASD.
The official statement issued by the family states:
“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 continuous outpouring of encouragement, gratitude, and respect for him that has come from our community and across the nation has brought us the comfort and the strength needed to survive this tragedy.
“You all have truly touched our hearts.
“We want to say thank you for everyone who has stood in support, prayed, written letters, shared stories and are continuing to grieve beside us in honor of our fallen Hero. Steve paid the ultimate sacrifice, but his passing is uniting this community.
“We have peace knowing he was a man of faith, and although his earthly body is gone his spirit is alive and thriving inside all of us.
“He is seated with the Lord Almighty looking down on all of us now and continuing to ensure our safety.
“Rest assured, he will always be patrolling the streets of our community; you may not see him but he is there. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
“We are sharing a couple of very personal photos to help tell the story of the kind of man our husband, dad, and son was – a true family and community protector.
“He had a huge heart for all things living and always put others before himself.”
A private memorial is scheduled for Owen Thursday.
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