A Catholic bishop was shot to death in Los Angeles on Saturday.
Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell was killed just before 1 p.m., the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said, according to KABC-TV. The department said he was in a home in Hacienda Heights at the time.
O’Connell was found with a gunshot wound in the upper part of his torso and was pronounced dead at the scene. The department initially labeled the death “suspicious.”
“This incident is being handled as a murder investigation. There is no additional information available at this time,” the department said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Praying for the repose of the soul of Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, the Most Reverend David O’Connell, who was shot and killed yesterday. The bishop was noted for his work among the poor and disadvantaged, his pro-life activism, and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. May this… https://t.co/Ypz9MOzYEo pic.twitter.com/cBTLzewTTq
— Father V (@father_rmv) February 19, 2023
“We can only imagine how the community is suffering because of this senseless murder,” the sheriff’s department said in a statement, according to The Washington Post.
“Bishop O’Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on through the community that he helped build,” the statement said.
Although no one was in custody Sunday, Sheriff’s Deputy Lizette Falcon said the public was not in any danger.
This is L.A. Aux. Bishop David O’Connell, with one of my young clients. Bishop Dave, who was shot to death in his home today, was there for every child and family I have represented. Always. Helping, supporting and generally being the face of Jesus for me and many many others. pic.twitter.com/zdtEN25DGE
— Linda Dakin-Grimm (@LindaDakinGrimm) February 19, 2023
Archbishop José H. Gomez said in a statement that O’Connell’s death was “a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” according to KABC.
“As a priest and later a bishop here in Los Angeles for forty-five years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother. He 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 was honored and protected,” Gomez said.
In California, the death of a Catholic bishop is under investigation after he was found shot to death in his Los Angeles-area home. Parishioners gathered outside Bishop David O’Connell’s home on Saturday, looking for answers. He was 69 years old. #SundayTODAY pic.twitter.com/bU1YiSKBCI
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 19, 2023
“He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly. I know we all will. Please join me in praying for Bishop Dave and for 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.
An impromptu vigil was held Saturday after parishioners learned of O’Connell’s death.
I’m in Hacienda Heights where Bishop David O’Connell, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was shot to death earlier today. Parishioners gather at the scene of the crime to mourn and pray for their beloved leader pic.twitter.com/455uda1ZqD
— Clara Harter (@_ClaraHarter) February 19, 2023
Parishioner Glendy Perez told KABC O’Connell “was a humble soul.”
“He was not the type that would have confrontations with nobody,” she said. “He was very loving, and he had like a gift of healing. When you would attend his ceremonies, it was like a gift of healing.”
O’Connell was born in Ireland in 1953. He was ordained to serve in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979 and became an auxiliary bishop in 2015.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.