Los Angeles Auxilary Bishop David O’Connell, a popular priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for many years known for his work ministering to immigrants, the poor, and victims of gun violence in South LA, was shot and killed Saturday, authorities said.
The shooting happened around 1 p.m. local time inside a home in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, television station KABC reported.
Deputies found O’Connell, 69, suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso, KCAL News reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspicious death but no further details were available late Saturday.
Earlier in the day, Archbishop José Gomez released a statement announcing that O’Connell, an Irish native who had worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, had died unexpectedly.
“I am very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” Gomez said in the statement, Angelus News reported.
“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” the archbishop said.
About a dozen local Catholics came together to pray for O’Connell on Saturday night in Hacienda Heights, holding candles and praying the rosary next to the police tape outside of the crime scene where police are investigating the bishop’s death.
People described O’Connell as very accessible, friendly, generous with his time and having a great sense of humor. He was a Bishop of the people and closely involved in many parishes.
People are shocked by his killing. said Jose Alvarez pic.twitter.com/ZzhGBwphI3
— Clara Harter (@_ClaraHarter) February 19, 2023
Jonny Flores told the Los Angeles Times that he knew O’Connell from local pro-life rallies and remembered the bishop as very humble and always generous with his time.
“He didn’t hold back his words. He was well spoken,” Flores said….
Original story from Catholic News Agency.