Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David G. O’Connell. PHOTO FROM BP. O’CONNELL’S FACEBOOK PAGE

By Shannon Mullen

Catholic News Agency

February 19, 2023

WASHINGTON D.C.— Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, a popular priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for many years known for his work ministering to immigrants, the poor, and victims of gun violence in South LA, was shot and killed Saturday, authorities said.

The shooting happened around 1 p.m. inside a home in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, television station KABC reported.

Deputies found O’Connell, 69, suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso, KCAL News reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Authorities are investigating the shooting as a suspicious death but no futher details were available late Saturday.

Earlier in the day, Archbishop José Gomez released a statement announcing that O’Connell, an Irish native who had worked in the Los Angeles area for the past 45 years, had died unexpectedly.

“I am very sad this afternoon to report that our beloved Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell has passed away unexpectedly,” Gomez said in the statement, Angelus News reported.

“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” the archbishop said.

Born in County Cork, Ireland in 1953, O’Connell studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin and was ordained to serve in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979, according to Angelus News. After ordination, he served as associate pastor in several parishes and as pastor at St. Frances X. Cabrini, Ascension, St. Eugene and St. Michael’s parishes – all in South L.A. Pope Francis named O’Connell a bishop in 2015.

O’Connell also was active helping immigrants in the area as chairman of the interdiocesan Southern California Immigration Task Force, Angelus News reported.

Gomez called O’Connell “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,” the archbishop said.

“He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly,” Gomez, added. He asked for prayers for the bishop and his family in Ireland.

“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 said.


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