LOS ANGELES – Los Angles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced Monday the arrest of a man believed to be responsible for the murder of Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell at his home on Saturday. The homicide suspect is reportedly the husband of the bishop’s longtime housekeeper.
Luna identified the suspect as Carlos Medina, 65, of Torrance. He was taken into custody at his home in the 20400 block of Kenwood Avenue after an hourslong standoff early Monday morning. Law enforcement personnel geared in tactical equipment surrounded the residence and tried to get Medina to surrender, but he initially refused. Luna said the stalemate lasted several hours until Medina was finally taken into custody around 8:15 a.m., KTLA reported.
Once Medina was secured, investigators served a search warrant at the Torrance home. They recovered two firearms and additional evidence that linked him to the crime, Luna said.
O’Connell, 69, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was found shot and killed inside his Hacienda Heights home over the weekend.
Deputies responded to the shooting at the home of the Roman Catholic Church official about 1 p.m. on Saturday. Upon arrival, they discovered O’Connell suffering from a gunshot wound to the chest. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
When the homicide was first reported, LASD said it was a “suspicious death” as they began their investigation.
“It’s very early in the investigation,” LASD Homicide Bureau Detective Michael Modica said Saturday, according to KCAL. “We got a lot more steps we have to take to make more determination to what’s happening.”
Sheriff Luna said they received a tip Sunday evening that led them to Medina. The housekeeper’s husband reportedly “began acting strange, irrational, and began making comments about the bishop owing him money.”
The housekeeper is reportedly cooperating with investigators.
In 2015, Pope Francis named O’Connell as the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, an area he served for about 45 years, Fox News reported.
O’Connell had also served as the Episcopal Vicar of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region.
Archbishop José H. Gomez announced O’Connell’s death during during Mass on Saturday.
“Our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” he said. “It’s a shock and I have no words to express my sadness. 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.”
“He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly. I know we all will,” Gomez continued. “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.”
O’Connell was born in County Cork, Ireland and studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin. He was ordained to serve in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979, according to Doris Benavides, associate director of media relations for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, FOX 11 reported.
O’Connell served as chairman of the inter-diocesan Southern California Immigration Task Force. In this position, he helped coordinate the church’s response to immigrant children and families from Central America in recent years. He also sponsored the enrollment of several young immigrants in Catholic schools, many of whom have advanced to college.