On Saturday, a Catholic bishop was shot and killed just blocks from a cathedral in Southern California. This shocked the Los Angeles religious community and killed a priest who had been known as a “peacemaker” for his whole life.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says that the death of Bishop David O’Connell is being looked into as a possible murder.
The sheriff’s office told CBS Los Angeles on Monday that a person of interest had been caught. At a news conference on Monday afternoon, officials are expected to give more details.
The police haven’t said if the bishop was a target or if his faith had anything to do with the killing.
Bishop David O’Connell Was a True Peacemaker
Angelus News, the archdiocese’s news source, says that O’Connell was from Ireland and had been a priest for 45 years. He was 69 years old. In 2015, Pope Francis made him one of the many auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, which is the largest diocese in the country.
Angelus News says that O’Connell worked for years in South Los Angeles and focused on stopping gangs. During the bloody rebellion of 1992, when a jury found four white LA police officers guilty of beating a black man named Rodney King, he tried to keep the peace between the locals and the police.
In recent years, O’Connell led Catholic groups in the area that worked with Central American children and families who had moved there. About 20 years later, people in the San Gabriel Valley worked together to fix up a mission that had been burned down.
On Saturday around 1 p.m., O’Connell was found with a gunshot wound in Hacienda Heights. When they heard about a medical emergency, sheriff’s deputies were sent to the area, which was just a few blocks from St. John Vianney Catholic Church, which is part of the O’Connell archdiocese.
The paramedics at the scene told the sheriff’s office that he was dead. The archbishop said that O’Connell lived in an unincorporated area called Hacienda Heights, which is 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
Deputies say that O’Connell was shot in his house, and CBS Los Angeles says that his death is “strange.”
Bishop David O’Connell Honored by Masses
On Sunday, O’Connell was remembered at masses held in places of worship all over the area. Behind police tape in Hacienda Heights, people left flowers and candles and said the rosary. Around 50 people prayed and sang at a vigil on Sunday afternoon outside a section of the neighborhood that had been cordoned off as a crime scene.
Ramona Torres has been a lector in her church for more than 30 years and often read at Masses that O’Connell led. She said, “Every time I think about him, I’ve been crying for two days.”
Gabriela Gil first met O’Connell, who was expecting her youngest child, at a Catholic school mass.
“I asked him to pray over my tummy,” she told The Associated Press as she and her family paid their respects at the murder scene.
Gil was a mother of seven, and she and O’Connell often talked about her children and her beliefs. She said that at first she thought he had died of a heart attack or something else medical. She said, “I’ve never felt like anyone in the world understood me more.”
She was shocked to hear that he had died because O’Connell had just gotten her son confirmed the year before.
Before the Mass started, she said, “I saw him in the parking lot. He was just taking a short walk while saying his rosary.”
Everybody is Saddened by the Death of Long-Time “Peacemaker”
The Irish diocese of Cork and Ross, where O’Connell was born, was shocked by the priest’s death. Bishop Fintan Gavin said in a statement that O’Connell “has always kept in touch with his family and friends in Cork” by making frequent trips back to Ireland.
The sheriff of LA County sent his condolences and said that detectives are “determined to catch those responsible for this horrible act.”
On Twitter, Sheriff Robert Luna said, “He was a peacemaker with a big heart who helped people in need and made our town a better place.”
My heart grieves after learning of the murder of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell. He lovingly served as a priest and Bishop in Los Angeles County for forty-five years.
He was a peacemaker and had a passion serving those in need while improving our community.
— Robert Luna (@LACoSheriff) February 19, 2023
Archbishop José H. Gomez said at Mass on Saturday, “David O’Conell, our dear Auxiliary Bishop, passed away suddenly. It’s shocking, and I can’t find the right words to show how sad I am. Los Angeles-based CBS said.
Archbishop Gomez and the Diocese of Los Angeles said in a statement after the service that O’Connell “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 were honored and protected.”
According to CBS Los Angeles, Gomez’s statement continued, “He was also a great friend, and I will miss him very much.”
Eric Garcetti, who used to be the mayor of Los Angeles, called Bishop O’Connell a “longtime friend” and said that he and Bishop O’Connell had prayed together during the coronavirus outbreak.
Garcetti tweeted on Sunday, “One of the most beautiful angels in our city has died.”
I’m so deeply saddened by the death of longtime peacemaker and fighter for justice, Bishop David O’Connell. 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.
— Eric Garcetti (@ericgarcetti) February 19, 2023
Religious leaders in Los Angeles were shocked by the recent act of violence. Last week, two Jewish men were shot and hurt by a person who, according to officials, chose them because they were Jewish. Federal authorities say that suspect Jaime Tran committed hate crimes.
Our Team DCS includes 5 different writers proficient in English and research based Content Writing. We allow them and encourage them to follow the Entertainment news all day long. Our posts, listicles and even the exclusives are a result of their hard work.