Catholic Bishop shot to death in LA home, murder investigation launched

O’Connell, 69, was discovered dead from a single gunshot wound to the torso in his Hacienda Heights home just before 1 pm, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

David O'Connell, a Catholic auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, California, was fatally shot on Saturday in what police have said is a "suspicious" circumstance. 

On Sunday, the police department said "This incident is being handled as a murder investigation. There is no additional information available at this time," reported the Los Angeles Times

O'Connell, 69, was discovered dead from a single gunshot wound to the torso in his Hacienda Heights home just before 1 pm, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department told KTLA 5.

"His death is being investigated as suspicious," the local outlet reported.

Parishioners gathered outside of O'Connell's home later on Saturday night to pray.

It is unclear if there is a suspect, or if the weapon was found at the scene. However, police have maintained that there is no threat to the public.

According to Angelus, a Catholic news source for the LA area, "Bishop Dave," as he was known, was born in Ireland and had been episcopal vicar for the archdiocese's San Gabriel Pastoral Region since his appointment as auxiliary bishop by Pope Francis in 2015. He spent "most of his four decades as a priest ministering in LA's inner city."

Archbishop José H. Gomez made the announcement of his death to the LA Catholic community, saying, "We learned early this morning from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s office that they have determined that the death of Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell yesterday was a homicide. We are deeply disturbed and saddened by this news."

"Let us continue to pray for Bishop Dave and his family. And let us pray for law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation into this terrible crime," Gomez said. "We ask Our Blessed Mother Mary to intercede and be a mother for all of us in this moment of sadness and pain."

Chair of the LA County Board of Supervisors, Janice Hahn, also released a statement on Twitter, writing, "I was very sad to learn of the passing of Bishop O'Connell. He was a longtime friend. I was fortunate to work with him during my time on the city council and again as Supervisor. I join with Archbishop Gomez and the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in mourning his loss."

LA County Sherriffs also offered their condolences, saying "Bishop O'Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on. You are not alone in your grief and that @lasdhq is here to support you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we are working diligently to seek those responsible for his death."


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