The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Monday that they had arrested a man in connection with the shooting death of a Catholic bishop who was known for bringing peace to his community.
The sheriff’s department said that Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was found dead in his home in Hacienda Heights, about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles, on Saturday. The death is being looked into as a murder. Deputy Lizette Falcon told CNN that deputies found O’Connell around 1 p.m. Saturday after getting an emergency call.
Carlos Medina, 65, was arrested at his home in Torrance, California, on Monday morning after a standoff with deputies that lasted for hours, said Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna at a news conference. Luna said that Medina is the housekeeper’s husband and had done some work around the bishop’s house.
Detectives started looking into Medina after someone said he was acting weird and saying the bishop owed him money, said Luna. Detectives also found out that an SUV similar to one Medina is known to drive had recently pulled into the bishop’s driveway and left after a short time, Luna said.
Luna said that detectives don’t yet know why O’Connell was killed, and Luna herself isn’t sure if there was a fight. When asked what Medina was charged with, Luna said, “We’re still putting that together.” CNN is looking into whether or not Medina has a lawyer. Investigators have talked to Medina’s wife, and Luna said that she is giving them all the information they need.
At Medina’s residence in Torrance – roughly a 35-mile drive southwest of Hacienda Heights – investigators found two firearms and “other evidence possibly linking Medina to the crime,” the sheriff said. The guns still must be examined to determine whether they are linked to the bishop’s killing, he said.
Luna said that because the bishop was late to a meeting on Saturday, a deacon went to O’Connell’s house to see how he was doing. Luna said that the deacon called 911 and told them that O’Connell was not breathing. Luna said that there was no evidence that the bishop’s home had been broken into.
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Community Members and Political Leaders Are Sad About O’connell
People in the Catholic community and in politics in Los Angeles praised O’Connell and said they were shocked by his death. In a statement released Saturday, Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez said of O’Connell’s death, “I am shocked and speechless with sadness.”
Gomez said-(As Per Cnn News)
“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 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”
“He 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”
Gomez released another statement on Sunday, saying that he was “deeply disturbed and saddened” to find out that his death was being looked into as a murder.
According to Angelus, a news site for the Los Angeles Archdiocese, O’Connell was born in County Cork, Ireland, and was ordained to serve in the archdiocese in 1979. As an associate pastor, O’Connell helped people in southern Los Angeles who were dealing with gang violence and poverty. Angelus said that after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, he worked to rebuild trust between the people and the police.
Angelus said that working with immigrants was also one of O’Connell’s top priorities. He was the chairman of the interdiocesan Southern California immigration Task Force, which helped the local church respond to the recent influx of migrants from Central America.
In 2019, he said of the task force, For me, it’s really a labor of love, because I think this is what our schools and parishes are all about. Not just for kids who are alone, but for all of our kids. Even kids who have too much are getting hurt at an alarming rate.
They think we’ve given up on them. And the young immigrants have become a symbol for our whole society. The leader of the Los Angeles County board of supervisors, Janice Hahn, said Monday that the bishop had been a friend of hers for a long time.
Hahn said, “He was known to walk among the people.” He reached out to people in gangs, to the homeless, and to people who move around a lot. He was the help of the helpless and the hope of the hopeless, and he knew that serving God meant serving people, especially the most vulnerable people in our society.
As the police look into the shooting that killed someone, the Catholic community in Los Angeles is thinking about his impact. I’m brokenhearted. Ramona Torres, a parishioner, said, I’ve been crying for the last few days because I know he’s no longer here to share his ideas, prayers, and everything else with us. Gabriela Gil, another parishioner, said, “His death hurts me a lot because he was one of the nicest people I’ve ever met.”
“Bishop O’Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on,” the sheriff’s department said on Twitter. “We are working diligently to seek those responsible for his death.”
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