The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department said Sunday that authorities investigating the death of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell are handling the situation as a murder investigation, a spokesperson told The Daily Wire.
O’Connell, 69, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was shot dead in his home in the suburb of Hacienda Heights.
ABC News correspondent Alex Stone first reported that authorities ruled out a suicide overnight. A medical emergency was reported in his home on Saturday afternoon.
Los Angeles County Sheriff's investigators now believe the death of auxiliary bishop of LA Archdiocese David O'Connell to be murder. Suicide was ruled out overnight after O'Connell was found dead after a medical emergency call on Saturday afternoon in a home.
— Alex Stone (@astoneabcnews) February 19, 2023
Authorities did not comment to The Daily Wire on that report. Investigators previously marked the bishop’s death as suspicious, but few details were available.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told CBS Los Angeles that the shooting happened just before 1 p.m. Saturday. Deputies arrived and found a man with a gunshot wound to the chest. The victim was pronounced dead soon after.
“I am very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” Archbishop of Los Angeles José H. Gomez said in a statement Saturday. “It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness.”
“As a priest and later a bishop here in Los Angeles for forty-five years, Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother,” Gomez 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 was honored and protected.”
O’Connell was named Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles by Pope Francis in 2015. He served as chairman of the interdiocesan Southern California Immigration Task Force, which helped respond to an influx of immigration from Central America in recent years. He was also chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Subcommittee on the Catholic Campaign for Human Development.
John Rigolizzo contributed to this report.