Speed Reads

Rest in Peace

Housekeeper's husband arrested in slaying of Los Angeles Catholic Bishop David O'Connell

Police in Los Angeles said Monday they had arrested a suspect in the slaying of Bishop David O'Connell, who was found dead Saturday afternoon at his archdiocese-owned home in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood with at least one bullet in his upper body. Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said a crucial tip and surveillance video had led police to Carlos Medina, 65, the husband of O'Connell's housekeeper. A search of Medina's house uncovered two firearms, which are now being tested to see if either was the murder weapon. 

Police don't have a motive for the killing of O'Connell, 69, but according to Sunday night's tipster, "Medina was acting strange, irrational, and made comments about the bishop owing him money," Luna said. Medina, who had also previously done work at O'Connell's residence, is being held in lieu of $2 million bail. 

O'Connell was born in Ireland and studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin. He was ordained in 1979 in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, where he earned a reputation as a good-humored peacemaker who specially served the poor, downtrodden, and immigrant communities. In the 1990s he mediated disputes between rival street gangs and between police and the neighborhood that erupted in protest after the police beating of Rodney King. Pope Francis made him an auxiliary bishop in 2015. 

Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez, struggling to maintain his composure at Luna's news conference, called O'Connell "a good friend of Los Angeles" and especially those living on the city's margins. 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 was honored and protected," Gomez said. "He was a good priest, a good bishop, and a man of peace."

"He was the help of the helpless and the hope of the hopeless," Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn agreed, referring to O'Connell as a longtime friend. "He knew that serving God meant serving man."