Bishop David O’Connell Murder: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

bishop david o'connell

Facebook/David OConnell Bishop David O'Connell.

David O’Connell was an auxiliary bishop of the Los Angeles Archdiocese who was found dead inside a California home on February 18, 2023, according to the Archbishop of Los Angeles.

Carlos Medina, the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, is accused of shooting O’Connell to death, according to Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna. According to Luna, Medina, 65, had done work on the bishop’s home.

Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote in a statement that O’Connell’s death is being treated as a homicide.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau tweeted on February 20, 2023, “ASD SEB SWAT operation for an armed, barricaded suspect in Torrance has concluded. Suspect in custody. Kenwood Ave reopened. Neighborhood safe.”

LA Daily News reporter Clara Harter wrote on Twitter that Sheriff’s officials took “a man into custody in connection with the killing of Bishop David O’Connell. The man had barricaded himself in his home on Kenwood Ave, Torrance. Neighbor Marty Hernandez says the sheriffs arrived at midnight and the suspect finally emerged at 9 am today.”

The Sheriff’s Department is holding a press conference on February 20, 2023.

“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s investigators now believe the death of auxiliary bishop of LA Archdiocese David O’Connell to be murder. Suicide was ruled out overnight after O’Connell was found dead after a medical emergency call on Saturday afternoon in a home,” ABC News correspondent Alex Stone tweeted.

The suspect or suspects are not publicly known.

Here’s what you need to know:

1. Bishop David O’Connell Was Shot to Death, Sheriff’s Officials Say

According to a press release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, homicide detectives responded to a shooting death in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights, California, at 12:57 p.m. on February 18, 2023, a Saturday.

The victim was described in the release as a “male adult” and the suspect as “unknown.”

“Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide detectives are responding to a shooting death investigation that occurred on February 18, 2023 at approximately 12:57 p.m., on the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue, Hacienda Heights,” the press release said.

“The victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” the release said, adding, “Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.”

According to the Whittier Daily News, Los Angleles County Sheriff’s homicide detective Michael Modica told reporters that deputies “received a call reporting a person was not breathing and bleeding in a Janlu Avenue home, where they discovered a person dead in a room from an apparent gunshot wound to the torso.” The news site reported that the man found in the home was O’Connell.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department later tweeted that “Bishop O’Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on.”

“You are not alone in your grief and that @lasdhq is here to support you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we are working diligently to seek those responsible for his death,” the Sheriff’s Department tweeted.

2. Bishop David O’Connell, Who Had a Degree in Philosophy & English Literature From University College Dublin, Served as Pastor at Numerous California Parishes, a Biography Says

According to a biography on the website of LA Catholics, the Most Reverend David G. O’Connell was “the Episcopal Vicar of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Cell Ausaille and Auxiliary Bishop in 2015.”

O’Connell “received a BA in Philosophy and English Literature from the University College Dublin in 1975, a Bachelor of Divinity from Maynooth College in 1977 and a Masters of Spirituality from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1987,” the bio says.

“Since his ordination to the priesthood, he’s served as Associate Pastor at St. Raymond in Downey, St. Maria Goretti in Long Beach, and St. Hillary in Pico Rivera, and then as Pastor of St. Frances X. Cabrini, Ascension Catholic Church, St. Eugene and St. Michael Parishes,” it reads.

“He also served as a member of the Priest Pension Board, and currently serves on the Together in Mission Board as well as the Archdiocesan Finance Council, and continues to be a long-time member of the Council of Priests. He is a Knight of Peter Claver,” according to the biography.

3. The Archbishop Says the Archdiocese Was ‘Disturbed & Saddened’ by News That the Death Is Being Treated as a Homicide

Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, wrote in the February 19, 2023, statement, “We learned early this morning from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office that they have determined that the death of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell yesterday was a homicide. We are deeply disturbed and saddened by this news.”

According to Gomez’s statement, “Let us continue to pray for Bishop Dave and his family. And let us pray for law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation into this terrible crime.”

He added, “We ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede and be a mother for all of us in this moment of sadness and pain.”

4. David O’Connell, Who Had Family in Ireland, Was Remembered as ‘a Peacemaker With a Heart for the Poor & the Immigrant’

In a previous statement on Saturday, February 18, 2023, Gomez wrote that he was “very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly. It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness.”

“As a priest and later a bishop here in Los Angeles for forty-five years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother,” he wrote in the statement. “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.”

According to the archbishop, O’Connell “was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly. I know we all will. Please join me in praying for Bishop Dave and for his family in Ireland. May Our Lady of Guadalupe wrap him in the mantle of her love, and may the angels lead him into paradise, and may he rest in peace.”

Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, tweeted, “I was very sad to learn of the passing of Bishop O’Connell. He was a longtime friend. I was fortunate to work with him during my time on the city council and again as Supervisor. I join with Archbishop Gomez and the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in mourning his loss.”

5. David O’Connell Was Remembered as Friendly, Approachable & ‘Incredibly Generous With His Time’

“I was devastated to hear this,” said Donna Marie, local resident and member of St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights, to the Whittier Daily News. “Everybody is pretty shocked right now, because this kind of thing doesn’t happen around here.”

According to the Daily News, Marie described O’Connell as a “kind-hearted man, known with a thick Irish accent and great sense of humor” whose Masses were well-attended.

Father Albert Avenido of the Sacred Heart church in Covina held a special “memorial Mass” on Janlu Avenue after the death, according to the Daily News, which quoted Avenido as saying, “It’s a complete shock.”

He described O’Connell to the Daily News as a “very approachable and friendly bishop and incredibly generous with his time.”

O’Connell had a public Facebook page. His top post was of a “Bishop O’Connell: Memorial Mass marking CA 50 Years Legal Abortion,” but it dates to 2017.

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