Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert G. Luna on Monday announced the arrest of a suspect in the murder of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell.
Sheriff Luna identified the suspect as Carlos Medina, 65, the husband of the bishop’s housekeeper.
Medina was heard saying that Bishop O’Connell owed him money, tipsters told investigators. A car similar to the SUV he drove was seen on surveillance video driving into the bishop’s driveway.
Bishop O’Connell was found dead on Saturday afternoon. He was discovered with a gunshot wound to the upper torso in his home in Hacienda Heights. No weapons were found on the scene, and there was no sign of forced entry.
Medina had previously done work around O’Connell’s residence. Police arrested him at his home in Torrance after a brief standoff.
Authorities recovered two firearms and other possible evidence at Medina’s home, which Luna said would be examined to determine if they were connected to the murder, according to CBS News.
Los Angeles Archbishop José H. Gómez addressed the press conference, calling O’Connell “a good friend to Los Angeles. Out of his love for God he served this city for more than 40 years as an immigrant from Ireland,” the archbishop said. O’Connell was fluent in Spanish, he added, “with an Irish accent. “
“He was a good priest and a good bishop and a man of peace,” Gómez said, his voice breaking. “We are very sad to lose him.”
The news of Bishop O’Connell’s death has shocked the Catholic Church in the United States. Reaction has been strong from both fellow clerics and ordinary people who knew the much-loved bishop.
“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,” Gómez said in a statement over the weekend.
“I received last night the devastating news that my dear friend, Bishop David O’Connell, has died,” Bishop Robert Barron of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota, said on Twitter. “Bishop Dave and I were ordained auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles seven years ago.”