A Los Angeles County bishop was found dead of a gunshot wound Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a law enforcement source.
Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, 69, served as a priest and later a bishop for more than 45 years. He was found dead in his home in Hacienda Heights, California Saturday afternoon. He had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest.
“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez said in a statement Saturday.
Gomez described Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell as a “peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant.”
“Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer. . .he had a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and protected.”
Gomez added that O’Connell was a “good friend” whom he will miss greatly.
“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,” the Archbishop’s statement concluded.
“Homicide detectives are calling [David O’Connell’s] death suspicious,” KCAL reported live from the scene Saturday evening, where mourners had gathered to pray the rosary, light candles, and offer their respects.
The clergyman was found dead in a room in his home just after 1 p.m. local time, KCAL reported.
“He was a very good soul. . . very loving, caring,” Hacienda Heights resident Glendy Perez, one of the mourners outside O’Connell’s home, told the outlet. “We can’t even imagine something like this would happen to him.”
“When I first heard the news today, I was absolutely devastated and brokenhearted,” Janice Hahn told KCAL. Supervisor Hahn serves on the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
“Bishop David was so well known because of his love for people [and] his interest in all the causes that really lifted up the poor in Los Angeles County,” Hahn added.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives responded to a shooting death investigation at the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights Saturday afternoon, according to a Nixle alert, which the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department tweeted.
The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the alert. The suspect is unknown.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau encourages anyone with information about the incident to contact them at (323) 890-5500. Alternatively, those who wish to remain anonymous can report via “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS or use the “P3 Tips” mobile app.
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