According to authorities, the victim’s housekeeper’s husband, who was detained on Monday in connection with the weekend murder of a Catholic bishop that shook Los Angeles’ immigrant and religious communities, worked at the victim’s home.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna reported that Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, 69, was tragically shot on Saturday in the bedroom of his home in Hacienda Heights, an unincorporated area about 20 miles east of downtown Los Angeles.
At their Torrance home, roughly 35 miles south of Hacienda Heights, a SWAT team detained Carlos Medina, the housekeeper for O’Connell.
According to the sheriff, Medina was initially connected to the crime after detectives discovered security footage showing his SUV parked in O’Connell’s driveway at the time of the murder.
According to Luna, a caller claimed that Medina, 65, was behaving erratically and had mentioned that O’Connell “owed him money,” adding that the cause for the killing is still being looked into.
At the home held by the archdiocese, he claimed that investigators had not discovered any signs of a forced entry and that Medina’s wife was helping them. In Medina’s residence, detectives found weapons, and ballistic tests are still pending, according to Luna.
If Medina has a lawyer who can represent him, that information was not immediately available.
O’Connell was discovered at his home just a few blocks from the St. John Vianney Catholic Church, which is a part of his archdiocese, by a deacon who had gone to check on him after he missed a meeting. The deacon then called the police, according to Luna.
READ ALSO: 3 killed in Chicago Highway shooting identified
“Although I personally did not know the bishop, I cannot tell you how many phone calls I’ve received over the last 48 hours from people who have worked with him in different capacities,” Luna said. “This bishop made a huge difference in our community. He was loved.”
According to Angelus News, the news source of the largest archdiocese in the country, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, O’Connell had been a priest for 45 years and was an Irish native. Pope Francis appointed him as one of the archdiocese’s auxiliary bishops in 2015.
According to Angelus News, O’Connell spent years working in South Los Angeles and concentrated on gang intervention. After the bloody uprising of 1992, when a jury acquitted four white L.A. police officers in the beating of a Black motorist named Rodney King, he later tried to mediate peace between locals and the police.
O’Connell rallied the San Gabriel Valley neighbourhood to reconstruct a mission that had been destroyed in an arson attack nearly two decades later. He has recently led Catholic initiatives in the area to assist immigrant families and children from Central America.
According to Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez, O’Connell spoke Spanish with an Irish accent and demonstrated daily “compassion to the poor, to the homeless, to the immigrant, and all those living on society’s margins.”
“He was a good priest and a good bishop and a man of peace, and we’re very sad to lose him,” added Gomez, his voice breaking.
Janice Hahn, chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, said O’Connell was a longtime friend whom she first met while on the L.A. City Council. She said that in recent years O’Connell had devoted much of his time to helping immigrants arriving in the country.
“He devoted himself to supporting immigrants, not only making sure that they have food and shelter, but even helping immigrant children, unaccompanied minors, get into Catholic schools, and he helped them get into college,” she said.
On Sunday in Hacienda Heights, neighbours and churchgoers laid flowers and candles there while reciting the rosary.
The recent act of violence shocked Los Angeles’ religious leaders. Last week, two Jewish men were shot and injured by a shooter who officials said targeted them because of their religion. Federal hate crimes have been alleged against suspect Jaime Tran.