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Los Angeles auxiliary bishop shot dead in Hacienda Heights

Auxiliary bishop David O'Connell who was killed in Los Angeles. Photo credit: RVA

An auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell (69) of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, was killed inside a home in southern California's Hacienda Heights around 1 p.m. on February 18.

“Detectives are investigating this as a suspicious death in a room where the bishop was found with a gunshot wound to his upper torso,” said the sheriff's department.

Archbishop José H. Gomez announced Bishop O'Connell's death, saying, "It is a shock to lose him unexpectedly, and I cannot express my sorrow."

He described that as a priest and later a bishop in Los Angeles for 45 years, Bishop David was a man of deep prayer who had a deep love for Our Blessed Mother.

He added, "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 were honoured and protected.”

Archbishop Gomez remarked that Bishop David was also a close friend, and he will miss the late bishop a lot.

The archbishop urged, “everyone to join me in praying for Bishop David and his Irish family. May the angels lead him to paradise, Our Lady of Guadalupe wrap him in the garment of her love, and may he rest in peace.”

A parishioner, Glendy Perez, stated that O'Connell "was a humble soul, and he was not the sort that would have confrontations with anybody." When you joined his ceremonies, it seemed as if you were receiving a gift of healing since he had a gift of healing and was very kind.

"I was stunned to hear this and everyone is fairly shocked right now since this kind of thing doesn't happen around here," said Donna Marie, a member of St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights.

Born in Ireland in 1953, he was ordained a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979  after studying for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin.

In Los Angeles, he served as associate pastor and pastor in several parishes after his ordination.

Bishop David was named by Pope Francis as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 2015.

As chairman of the Inter-diocesan Southern California Immigration Task Force, Bishop David helped coordinate the church's response to immigrant children and families.

The late bishop was awarded the Evangelii Gaudium Award by St. John's Seminary in Camarillo last September for his service to the Los Angeles community and the Church.

Bishop David served as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.


Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.