Detectives are treating death of Los Angeles-area bishop as murder

LOS ANGELES — A Catholic bishop in Southern California was shot dead Saturday just blocks from a church. Officials said it was the murder of a long-time priest who was hailed as a “peacemaker” that took the religious community in Los Angeles by surprise.

Detectives are investigating the death of Bishop David O’Connell as a homicide, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities have not said whether the bishop was targeted in the shooting or if his religion was a factor in the killing. The shooter – or the shooter – remains on the run.

O’Connell, 69, had been a priest for 45 years and was from Ireland. According to Archdiocese news outlet Angelus News:Pope Francis appointed him one of the auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles (the largest in the country) in 2015.

According to Angelus News, O’Connell worked for years in South Los Angeles, where he devoted himself to gang intervention. He then sought to broker peace between residents and law enforcement after the violent uprising of 1992. A jury then acquitted his four white LA police officers for beating a black Rodney King.

Nearly two decades later, O’Connell united the San Gabriel Valley community to rebuild the mission after an arson attack, and in recent years has spearheaded Catholic efforts to work with immigrant children and families from Central America in the region. bottom.

O’connell is Found in Hacienda Heights Around 1pm on Saturday there was a gunshot wound. A sheriff’s deputy was called upon a report of a medical emergency to the area of ​​St. John Vianney, overseen by O’Connell, just blocks from the Catholic Church.

Paramedics declared him dead at the scene, the sheriff’s department said. However, it was not immediately clear whether he had been found at his home or elsewhere.

Masses in churches throughout the area were dedicated to O’Connell on Sunday.

“I cried for two days every time I thought about him,” said Ramona Torres, a lecturer at her church for more than 30 years who often read what O’Connell was conducting at Mass. I got

Gabriella Gill first met O’Connell when she was pregnant with her youngest child after a Catholic school mass.

“I asked him if he would pray on my belly,” she told the Associated Press as she and her family paid their respects at the crime scene.

A mother of seven, Gil often spoke to O’Connell about her sons and daughters and her faith over the years. “I never felt understood by anyone in this world,” she said, adding that at first she thought he died of a heart attack or some other emergency.

The news of his murder took her by surprise — just last year O’Connell was presiding over the confirmation of her son.

“I saw him in the parking lot before Mass started. He was going for a little walk praying the Rosary,” she said.

Cork and Ross Parish, Ireland,The place where O’Connell was born was shocked by the murder of a priest.In a statement, Bishop Fintan Gavin said that by returning to Ireland frequently, O’Connell “had always maintained ties with family and friends in Cork.” ‘ said.

LA County sheriff offered condolences to agencystating that the detective is “dedicated to apprehending those responsible for this horrific crime.”

“He was a peacemaker, passionate about serving those in need while improving our community.” Sheriff Robert Luna said on Twitter:

Archbishop of Los Angeles Jose H. Gomez offered the archdiocese prayer for the family of “Bishop Dave” and law enforcement investigating the crime.

“He was a pacifist at heart for the poor and immigrants, and was passionate about building communities where the dignity and dignity of every human life was respected and protected.” Gomez said.

Former Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti called the bishop a “long-time friend” and said he was part of a prayer group with O’Connell during the coronavirus pandemic.

“This city has lost one of its most beautiful angels.” Garcetti said on Twitter on Sunday.

Violence was the latest to shake Los Angeles religious leaders2 Jewish men shot and wounded by gunmen who said authorities targeted them because of their faith last week. Suspect Jaime Tran has been charged with a federal hate crime.

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