Man arrested in murder investigation of beloved LA bishop

by mcardinal

Trey Paul, FISM News 

The Los Angeles County Sherriff’s office has announced that they have made an arrest in the murder of David O’Connell, beloved auxiliary bishop at a local parish, after he was shot and killed in his bedroom in Hacienda Heights Saturday afternoon.

Police say that the man they have in custody, 65-year-old Carlos Medina, told police the 69-year-old clergyman owed him money. Medina worked as a handyman and his wife worked as a housekeeper at Bishop O’Connell’s home according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

Investigators say the arrest happened after someone in Medina’s community tipped off the police. The person told police that Medina returned to his own home Saturday and was acting “irrationally” and talking about debts the bishop owed him.

Medina’s neighbor, Luis Lopez, told CBS News that Medina “looks like your average Grandpa. He looked like he wouldn’t hurt a fly.”

Police haven’t confirmed whether or not the shooting happened after a confrontation over the alleged debt. 

“I am not certain of any dispute,” said LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said. “That’s something that came up from one of the witnesses, but as all of you know, our investigation continues, which means interviewing multiple witnesses to find out and get a better picture of what happened here.”

Sheriff Luna celebrated Bishop O’Connell on social media Sunday and is one of many in the community who referred to him as a peacemaker. 

Former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti continued the outpouring of love for Bishop O’Connell on social media.

“I’m so deeply saddened by the death of longtime peacemaker and fighter for justice, Bishop David O’Connell.” Former LA Mayor Eric Garcetti said via Twitter. “He was a friend of many years and part of a prayer group that I participated in throughout the COVID pandemic. This city has lost one of its most beautiful angels.”

Archbishop Jose’ H. Gomez announced the news of Bishop O’Connell’s death during Mass on Saturday.

“Our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” he said. “It’s 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 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 Angelus News, the archdiocese news outlet, Bishop O’Connell was a native of Ireland and served as a priest for 45 years. He worked in South Los Angeles for years and spent a lot of time on gang intervention. 

“It’s been the great joy of my life to be the pastor of these people, especially the ones who are suffering or in need or facing difficulty,” Bishop O’Connell said after being appointed a bishop in 2015. “And it’s been a great privilege, a great blessing to be given these parishes all these years, to be pastor all these years. The people have touched my heart the way they are sincere.”