They investigate the finding of a bishop shot to death inside his house 1:17
(WABNEWS) — A man has been taken into custody in connection with the shooting death of a Catholic bishop renowned for his work as a community “mediator,” the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday.
Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was found dead at his home in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood on Saturday in what is being investigated as a homicide, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.RELATED
Agents found O’Connell after responding to an emergency call shortly before 1 p.m., assistant Lizette Falcon told WABNEWS.
Members of the Los Angeles Catholic community and political leaders praised O’Connell and expressed their shock at his death.
“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez said in a release the Saturday in which he announced O’Connell’s death.
“As a priest and then as a bishop here in Los Angeles for 45 years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother,” Gomez said. “He was a mediator 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.”
O’Connell was born in County Cork, Ireland, and was ordained to serve the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979, according to Angelusa news platform of the archdiocese.
While serving as an associate pastor, O’Connell served communities facing gang violence and poverty in South Los Angeles. He sought to restore trust between residents and law enforcement after the 1992 Los Angeles riots, according to Angelus.
Working with immigrants was also a priority for O’Connell and he was chair of the Southern California Interdiocesan Immigration Task Force, which helped coordinate the local Church’s response to the recent influx of immigrants from Central America, according to the Angelus site.
“For me, it really is a labor of love,” he said of the task force in 2019, “because I think that’s what our schools and parishes are all about. Not just for unaccompanied minors, but for all of our children. There’s a “epidemic of hurt children, even those who have too much. They feel we have abandoned them. And young immigrants have become a metaphor for our entire society,” he added.
As police investigate the events, the Los Angeles Catholic community reflects on its impact.
“I’m heartbroken. I’ve been crying the last few days knowing that he is no longer here to share all his inspiration and his prayers and everything with us,” said Ramona Torres, a parishioner.
“I am very affected by his death, because he is one of the most adorable people I have ever met,” said another parishioner, Gabriela Gil.
“Bishop O’Connell was a guiding light to so many, and his legacy will live on,” the sheriff’s department said in Twitter. “We are working diligently to find those responsible for his death.”