Auxiliary bishop David O’Connell of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was shot to death Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles, authorities have confirmed.
Bishop O’Connell, 69, who was found dead in a room with a gunshot wound to his upper torso, was killed just before 1:00pm, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
Archbishop José Gomez released a statement on O’Connell’s death, calling the slain prelate a “peacemaker” with love for the poor and immigrants.
“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” Archbishop Gomez said in the statement.
“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,” the archbishop said. “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 added. “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 Ireland in 1953 and studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin. He was ordained to work in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979, where he served as associate pastor and later as pastor at several parishes in L.A.
In 2015, Pope Francis named O’Connell auxiliary bishop for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.
In his pastoral ministry, O’Connell reportedly worked to restore trust between inner-city residents and law enforcement, organizing meetings with police officers in people’s homes to provide opportunities for dialogue and reconciliation.
The sheriff’s department said the incident is being investigated as a suspicious death but offered no further details regarding a possible suspect or suspects in the shooting.
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