Who shot David O'Connell? Officials identify suspect in fatal shooting of LA Auxiliary Bishop

Medina was arrested after a brief standoff with police (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)
Medina was arrested after a brief standoff with police (Julio Cortez/The Associated Press)

On Saturday, February 18, 69-year-old LA Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell was found dead in his Hacienda Heights residence, as per CBS.

Two days later, on Monday, February 20, Los Angeles authorities identified the prime suspect in the fatal shooting as 65-year-old Carlos Medina, a Torrance-based man who was married to David O'Connell's housekeeper.

Trigger warning: The article contains mentions of violence. Reader discretion is advised

As per Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna, Carlos Medina told at least one individual that David O'Connell owed him money for an undisclosed reason, though it was noted that he had worked for the Bishop in the past.

On Monday, at 8:15 am, authorities executed a search warrant on the suspect's home, recovering two firearms. According to Fox, it has not been determined whether or not either of the firearms were used in O'Connell's slaying.

According to USA Today, David O'Connell was a popular bishop, well known in Los Angeles for intervening in instances of gang-related violence. Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna told Fox that he had a reputation as a "peacemaker".

How was the suspect in David O'Connell's murder identified?

ABC reported that Carlos Medina was linked to the murder of David O'Connell after surveillance cameras showed his SUV in the Bishop's driveway at the time of the killing.

An anonymous tipster later phoned authorities, informing them that Carlos Medina was behaving suspiciously and exhibiting resentment about the fact that the Bishop owed him money. Officials also noted that there were no signs of forced entry into O'Connell's home, indicating that the gunman may have been known to him.

CBS reported that the anonymous tipster said Medina had left his Torrance home to go to the Central California area around the time of the murder. The suspect returned home at 2 am on Monday morning. Shortly after, on the same day, authorities surrounded his home. While Medina initially refused to surrender, he eventually left his home after a prolonged standoff, leading to his arrest.

What is David O'Connell known for?

In an official statement, Robert Luna said that O'Connell would be deeply missed by the people of Los Angeles. He said:

"My heart grieves. Although I personally did not know the bishop, I cannot tell you how many phone calls I have gotten from people who have worked with him and this man, this bishop, made a huge difference in our community. He was loved. And it is very sad we're gathered here today to talk about his murder."

Bishop O'Connell, a native of Glanmire, Cork County, Ireland, served as a priest for 45 years. He was ordained as a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles on July 10, 1979, before establishing strong ties to several marginalized communities in the city.

In recent years, he was primarily recognized for his efforts in assisting immigrant children and families from Central America.

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Edited by Upasya Bhowal
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