Person of Interest Detained in Shooting Death of Roman Catholic Bishop David O’Connell, LA Authorities Say

Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was shot to death in his home. "Let us pray for law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation into this terrible crime," said the archbishop of Los Angeles.

A person of interest was detained Monday as stunned parishioners in Los Angeles County mourned the shooting death of Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell, whose body was discovered inside his home in what authorities are calling a homicide. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced they were questioning an unidentified person in connection with the killing, and said a press conference would be held later on Monday.

O'Connell, 69, was pronounced dead Saturday inside his Hacienda Heights home, the sheriff's department said. Deputies were responding to a medical emergency call in the suburban community about 20 miles southeast of downtown, authorities said.

“We are deeply disturbed and saddened by this news,” Archbishop José H. Gomez of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles said in a statement Sunday. “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.”

O'Connell was well-known in the Los Angeles diocese, which is the country's largest. He served for nearly 50 years and was a "peacemaker" who championed the poor and immigrant communities, the archbishop said. He had helped broker a peace agreement between residents and police in 1992, when rioters besieged L.A. after the acquittal of LAPD officers charged in the beating of Black motorist Rodney King.

O’Connell was born in 1953 in County Cork, Ireland. He was named an auxiliary bishop for the Los Angeles archdiocese by Pope Francis in 2015. He studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin and was ordained to serve Los Angeles in 1979, the archdiocese said in its statement.

"He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly," said Archbishop Gomez, who asked for prayers for the bishop and his family in Ireland.

"May Our Lady of Guadalupe wrap him in the mantle of her love, and may the angels lead him into paradise, and may he rest in peace," Gomez said.

The sheriff's department released few details about the shooting.

“Bishop O’Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on,” the department said on Twitter. “We are working diligently to seek those responsible for his death.”

As his homicide investigation continued, parishioners shared their grief.

“I’m brokenhearted. I’ve been crying for the last few days knowing that he’s no longer here to share all of his inspiration and his prayers and everything with us,” parishioner Ramona Torres said, according to CNN.

“I’m very hurt, very hurt by his passing because he’s one of the most lovable persons I’ve met,” another parishioner, Gabriela Gil, said, according to the cable news outlet.

Anyone with information about the investigation is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

Anonymous tips can be submitted to Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477 or online at

Related Stories