A prominent Los Angeles Catholic official, who served the community for over four decades, was fatally shot Saturday in a California suburb.
David O’Connell, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was found inside a Hacienda Heights home with a severe gunshot wound to his upper torso and pronounced dead, according to CBS Los Angeles.
He was 69 years old.
Archbishop José H. Gomez released a statement on O’Connell’s death early Saturday morning, saying he had “passed away unexpectedly.”
“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.
“He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly. I know we all will.”
Detectives are investigating the shooting as a suspicious death and have not yet released any information on the suspect or suspects involved, according to the outlet.
“It’s very early in the investigation,” said LASD Homicide Bureau Detective Michael Modica. “We got a lot more steps we have to take to make more determination to what’s happening.”
O’Connell had been a part of the LA Catholic community for 45 years when he first became a priest. Pope Francis appointed O’Connell Auxiliary Bishop in 2015.
Born in Ireland, O’Connell studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin before moving to California in 1979. After he was ordained, he was an associate pastor at several LA parishes.
The Bishop was heavily involved in aiding immigration in California. He was chairman of the Interdiocesan Southern California Immigration Task Force, which helps children and families who immigrated from Central America.
“I was very sad to learn of the passing of Bishop O’Connell,” said Janice Hahn, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “He was a longtime friend. I was fortunate to work with him during my time on the city council and again as Supervisor.
“I join with Archbishop Gomez and the people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in mourning his loss.”
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