A 69-year-old Los Angeles priest was shot and killed Saturday afternoon in his home in Hacienda Heights, California, near his church.
According to Faithwire, a gunman fatally shot Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell in the torso at around 1 pm. He was pronounced dead at the scene. Police later arrested the suspect after an hours-long barricade in Torrance, California.
O'Connell, born in County Cork, Ireland, had been part of the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1979. As reported by National Review, he spent 45 years ministering to the people of Los Angeles' and was later appointed to his current position by Pope Francis in 2015.
In a statement on Saturday, José H. Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, said he was "very sad … to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell has passed away unexpectedly."
"It is a shock, and I have no words to express my sadness," said Gomez. "As a priest and later a bishop here in Los Angeles for 45 years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother."
"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 added.
In a post on Twitter, the LA Sheriff's Office lauded O'Connell.
"Bishop O'Connell was a guiding light for so many, and his legacy will continue to live on.
You are not alone in your grief, and that @lasdhq is here to support you. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, and we are working diligently to seek those responsible for his death."
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops also expressed their sorrow on social media.
"We join @ArchbishopGomez in grieving the sudden loss of one of our bishops. Bishop O'Connell was an active member of our Conference and a champion for the poor and marginalized as the former Subcommittee Chairman of @PovertyUSA_CCHD. May he rest in peace," the group wrote.
In 2020, O'Connell worked to unite the community after San Gabriel Mission, a 251-year-old church, was destroyed in an arson attack. The church was targeted by activists who believed that California missions and other colonial monuments have racist connotations.
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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.