David O’Connell, the auxiliary bishop, was described as a “man of deep prayer” by an authority. Known as a “peacemaker” in Los Angeles, the long-serving Catholic bishop has been shot and killed. Authorities have named the suspect as him.
Authorities announced at a press conference on Monday that 65-year-old Carlos Medina had been detained in connection with the murder of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell. According to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, the bishop’s housekeeper’s spouse is Medina.
O’Connell, who served the church for 45 years as a priest and a bishop, was discovered dead at a house on Sunday in the unincorporated community of Hacienda Heights after deputies responded to a medical emergency call, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
According to Luna, detectives got a tip on Sunday night that Medina was acting oddly and accusing O’Connell of owing him money. According to investigators, Medina had an SUV similar to the one observed pulling up to the bishop’s home.
Several parishioners visited the place of the adored bishop’s death to pray as the slaying of the bishop sent shockwaves through the Los Angeles Catholic community. The archbishop of Los Angeles, José H. Gomez, stated that O’Connell was regarded as a “man of deep prayer.”
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Investigators from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported that at 12:57 PM, a medical emergency call came in. Deputies were called to a home in Hacienda Heights on Sunday. They discovered 69-year-old O’Connell unconscious and bleeding from an upper torso gunshot wound.
Officials reported that he was pronounced deceased at the spot. How long O’Connell had been dead before sheriff’s deputies showed up at the house is unknown.
“He was a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant, and he had a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and protected,” Gomez said.
Parishioner Johnny Flores told ABC Los Angeles affiliate KABC, “It broke me and I was scared to tell my wife because my wife loved him so much.”
Glendy Perez, a different parishioner, called O’Connell “a humble soul.”
“He was not the type that would have confrontations with nobody,” Perez told KABC. “He was very loving, and he had like a gift of healing. When you would attend his ceremonies, it was like a gift of healing.”
In 2015, Pope Francis appointed O’Connell, an Irishman by birth, as an auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
O’Connell attended All Hallows College in Ireland to prepare for the priesthood, and he was ordained in 1979 to work in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Following his ordination, he worked in numerous Los Angeles parishes as a pastor and associate pastor.
In a tweet on Sunday, O’Connell was also referred to as a “longtime peacemaker and warrior for justice” by the former mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti. He continued, “Our city has lost one of its most beautiful angels.”
Before relocating to Los Angeles, O’Connell attended All Hallows College in Dublin. Before being named the auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles by Pope Francis on June 21, 2015, he served as a pastor at several parishes in the city.
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A group that advocates for immigration reform, the Southern California Immigration Task Force, was also led by him as its chair.
Jessa Martin is the author of Nogmagazine, A professional in writing by day, and novelist by night, she received her bachelor of arts in film from Howard University and her master of arts in media studies from the New School. A Brooklyn native, she is a lover of naps, cookie dough, and beaches, currently residing in the borough she loves, most likely multitasking.