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Teen 'befriended' gunman in sergeant's killing to keep him calm after he burst into home, youth's mother says

Teen 'befriended' gunman in sergeant's killing to keep him calm after he burst into home, youth's mother says
L.A. County sheriff's deputies stand near the fatal shooting scene in Lancaster on Wednesday afternoon. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

A quick-thinking teenager "befriended" a wounded gunman who burst into his home, cleaning him up and providing a change of clothes to keep him calm moments after authorities said he shot and killed a Los Angeles County sheriff's sergeant, the youth's mother said Thursday.

The mother, who asked to be identified only as Sara for fear of unwanted publicity, said her son and daughter were in the house during the Wednesday afternoon ordeal and did their best to keep the gunman calm before they could alert her about what was happening and find a way to get him out of their Lancaster home.

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The gunman was identified Thursday by sheriff's officials as 27-year-old Trenton Trevon Lovell. Authorities said Lovell gunned down Sgt. Steve Owen at an apartment building on Avenue J-7 as the lawman was responding to a burglary call. After shooting the sergeant and ramming another deputy with a sheriff's cruiser, Lovell ran into a nearby neighborhood.

The teens' mother said she had left work after learning about the shooting and had been trying to find a way past sheriff's blockades to return to her children. She called home once and her 17-year-old son told her not to worry.

"He said, 'It's OK mom, cops are everywhere,'" their mother said.

Lovell entered their home through a side door, his shirt visibly bloody, their mother said.

Her son helped Lovell out of his blood-soaked shirt and gave him a change of clothes, she said.

But Lovell didn't appear to be leaving.

So the woman said her 19-year-old daughter faked a panic attack. Her son told Lovell he needed to go upstairs to get his sister some medicine. Once he was away from Lovell, the teenager texted his mother, telling her the man was in their home.

In a panic, the woman said she drove "like a maniac" until she found deputies and told them their colleague's killer was in her house.

"This guy killed a cop and he's thinking he doesn't care. He's done," the teens' mother said. "He killed a cop, why would he care about killing two kids?"

Deputies quickly moved to the house to search for Lovell, who had been there about an hour.

As deputies closed in, Lovell stepped out of the family's home and onto their back patio, she said. Her teenage son quickly slammed the door and locked it.

Lovell realized what had happened and scrambled over a wall into another yard, where he was arrested.

Her children were not hurt.

The teens' mother said her children were doing fine in spite of the harrowing experience.

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She praised the responding deputies for saving her children.

"Even though they were mourning one of their own, they handled it," she said. "They did a fantastic job."

Follow @JamesQueallyLAT on Twitter for crime and police news in California.

Los Angeles Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.

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