Carlos Medina was identified as the 65-year-old suspect accused in the shooting death of Los Angeles, California, Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, who was remembered for his compassion for the poor and others on “society’s margins,” according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff and Archbishop of Los Angeles.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert G. Luna confirmed Medina’s arrest in a news conference, saying that Medina initially refused to come out of his Torrance, California, residence but was arrested on the morning of February 20, 2023.
O’Connell was discovered deceased inside a home on February 18, 2023, according to Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez.
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.” The sheriff said detectives recovered two firearms and other evidence possibly linking Medina to the crime.
Los Angeles County Hilda Solis said in a statement read by an aide at the news conference that O’Connell was “known to be a peacemaker during the most tumultuous times in L.A. history.” She said he fought for the vulnerable in society.
Gomez said in the news conference that O’Connell was an immigrant from Ireland who served Los Angeles for more than 40 years. He was fluent in Spanish “with an Irish accent,” Gomez said, adding that O’Connell was a “good priest” who worked to help people “living on society’s margins” and showed “compassion for the poor.” He was a “man of peace,” said Gomez.
LA Daily News reporter Clara Harter wrote on Twitter that Medina “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.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Carlos Medina, the Husband of Bishop David O’Connell’s ‘Devout Catholic’ Housekeeper, Is Accused of Making Comments That the Bishop Owed Him Money
According to Luna, a tipster contacted authorities and said that Medina was acting “strange, irrational” and “made comments about the bishop owing him money.” The sheriff said he wasn’t sure about any dispute or whether that information was true. He said authorities are continuing to investigate the motive and validate the tipster’s comments.
“Medina is the husband of Bishop O’Connell’s housekeeper,” said Luna. She was not working on the day of the murder, the sheriff said. Luna said the housekeeper, who was not named, was cooperating with the investigation.
Harter tweeted, “Neighbors Luis Lopez and his son Adrian were evacuated by the Sheriff’s Department around 3 am last night. They say the suspect’s wife was a devout Catholic and knew Bishop David O’Connell.”
Harter quoted Lopez as saying of the housekeeper, “She was a wonderful woman, all about God.”
The sheriff said in the news conference that the murder was a “horrendous crime.”
Gomez wrote in a February 19, 2023, statement that church officials had learned that morning from Sheriff’s officials that “the death of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell yesterday was a homicide.”
“We are deeply disturbed and saddened by this news,” Gomez wrote in the statement, which referred to O’Connell as “Bishop Dave.”
“Let us continue to pray for Bishop Dave and his family,” Gomez wrote. “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.”
ABC News correspondent Alex Stone tweeted that authorities had ruled out suicide after receiving a “medical emergency call” that led them to discover O’Connell’s body “in a home.”
2. The Sheriff Says Carlos Medina Shot David O’Connell in the Bedroom of the Bishop’s Home
According to the sheriff, O’Connell “sustained at least one gunshot wound to the upper body while in the bedroom of his residence.” A deacon went to check on O’Connell because the bishop was late for a meeting and discovered his body, according to Luna.
According to The Los Angeles Times, a law enforcement source said O’Connell, 69, “was found dead in his bed of a single gunshot wound” in his home owned by the Catholic archdiocese.
There was no sign of forced entry, the sheriff confirmed. He said a firearm was not discovered at the scene. The crime “was not believed to be random,” The Times reported.
According to a press release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, homicide detectives were dispatched to the scene of a shooting death on February 18, 2023.
The news release says that the body was found in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights, California, at 12:57 p.m.
“The victim was pronounced dead at the scene,” the release said.
“Anyone with information about this incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500,” Sheriff’s officials wrote.
3. A Dark-Colored SUV Like One Medina Drives Was Spotted on Surveillance Video at the Bishop’s Home, the Sheriff Says
According to the sheriff, a dark-colored SUV was seen in the bishop’s driveway. Luna said Medina drives a similar vehicle.
According to the Whittier Daily News, the Sheriff’s Department received a call about a person “not breathing and bleeding” in the home.
They found O’Connell deceased in a room “from an apparent gunshot wound to the torso,” the Daily News reported.
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.”
4. Carlos Medina, Whose Yard Was ‘Cluttered’ With Junk & Who Was Described as an ‘Odd Person,’ Had Previously Done Work at the Bishop’s Home, the Sheriff Says
Luna said Medina had previously done work at the bishop’s home. “The suspect had been at the bishop’s house before doing work,” the sheriff said. There was some kind of a “working relationship,” said the sheriff.
Journalist Harter tweeted, “Here’s a look inside the suspect’s yard, cluttered with an assortment of items and junk, including pipes, bikes, buckets, tools, bikes and potted plants.”
She quoted his neighbor Marty Hernandez as saying, “He always seemed like an odd person. Always on the go, in a rush, and digging stuff.”
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.
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.”
5. Bishop David O’Connell Was Described as a Religious Leader ‘Known to Walk Among the People’
Hahn, chairperson of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said in the February 20, 2023, news conference that O’Connell was a friend of hers. “He was known to walk among the people. He reached out to gang members. He reached out to the homeless. He reached out to the transients.”
O’Connell was the “help of the helpless and the hope of the hopeless,” she said, adding that he helped immigrant children. “The Catholics of Los Angeles have lost an incredible leader,” said Hahn.
According to a biography on the website of LA Catholics, 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,” according to the biography.
“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.
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