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Criminal Justice

Authorities ID Man Arrested In Killing Of LA Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell As Husband Of Housekeeper

An older white man with a gray goatee and dressed in a Catholic bishop's white robe and vestment stands before an altar covered with a candles and a wooden crucifix. Parishioners stand over folding chairs in the background.
Sheriff Robert Luna and Archbishop José Gómez wait to address the media about the homicide of Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell on Saturday.
(Jackie Orchard
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L.A. County Sheriff's officials have confirmed an arrest has been made in connection with the shooting death of Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell.

Sheriff Robert Luna identified the man in custody as Carlos Medina, 65, the husband of O'Connell's housekeeper. At an afternoon news conference Monday, Luna said Medina had previously done work at the bishop's home and a tipster told investigators that O'Connell, 69, owed him money. That said, Luna emphasized the investigation was still underway.

About the investigation

Luna said O'Connell's body was discovered at his church-owned home in Hacienda Heights by a deacon after he failed to show up to scheduled meeting on Saturday. Authorities were alerted in a 911 call.

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Luna said the cause of death was not immediately clear. No firearm was recovered at the scene. The sheriff said investigators have now determined O'Connell was shot at least one time.

Luna said homicide detectives tied Medina's truck to the scene through surveillance cameras in the area. He said Medina was taken into custody after first refusing to leave his home near Carson where officials had tracked him, in part thanks to tips. Medina's surrender happened at 8:15 a.m. Monday, Luna said.

A key next step, Luna said, will be testing two firearms recovered at Medina's home.

Reaction to the shooting death

"Although I personally did not know the bishop, I cannot tell you how many calls I've received over the last 48 hours from people," Luna said. "This man, this bishop made such a difference in this community. He was loved."

Archbishop José Gómez spoke at the news conference and thanked the sheriff's department for their work on the case. Gómez was emotional at the lectern, having to pause to gather his thoughts. At one point, Luna walked over to put his arm around Gómez.

"Bishop Dave was a good friend to Los Angeles. Out of his love for God he served this city for more than 40 years as a immigrant from Ireland," Gómez said, noting O'Connell was fluent in Spanish "with an Irish accent. "

"He was a good priest and a good bishop and a man of peace," Gómez said as his voice cracked with emotion. "We are very sad to lose him."

Watch the news conference

Luna begins speaking at about the 17 minute mark.

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Press Conference Regarding Bishop David O'Connell

Sheriff Robert G. Luna will provide information regarding the murder of Bishop David O'Connell

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Monday, February 20, 2023

About O'Connell

A man wears a white robe with crosses on a stole. Candles are lighted on a table with a cross.
Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell photographed in 2020 at Saint Cornelius Catholic Church in Long Beach. O'Connell was fatally shot at his home in Hacienda Heights on Saturday.
(Apu Gomes
AFP via Getty Images)

Known as a “peacemaker” in Los Angeles, O’Connell focused his efforts on supporting immigrants and those struggling with poverty.

Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell, Remembered

Before he was killed, O'Connell was one of five auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. Named by Pope Francis to that role in 2015, O'Connell and other auxiliary bishops assist Archbishop José Gómez in running the massive archdiocese.

L.A.'s archdiocese is made up of more than 280 parishes and served some 4.3 million Catholics.

O'Connell is a graduate of University College Dublin, where he studied philosophy and English and went on to get a Bachelor of Divinity from Maynooth College in 1977 and a Masters of Spirituality from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1987, according to his biography on the Archdiocese of Los Angeles website.

Locally he served as a priest at:

  • St. Raymond in Downey
  • St. Maria Goretti in Long Beach
  • St. Hillary in Pico Rivera
  • St. Frances X. Cabrini in L.A.
  • Ascension Catholic Church in L.A.
  • St. Eugene in L.A.
  • St. Michael in L.A.
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