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Suspect arrested in killing of Catholic bishop in Southern California

Bishop Shot
Posted at 12:18 PM, Feb 20, 2023
and last updated 2023-02-20 14:18:08-05

LOS ANGELES — Authorities say a suspect has been arrested in the killing of a Catholic bishop in Southern California.

Bishop David O’Connell was shot and killed in Hacienda Heights Saturday, blocks from the St. John Vianney Catholic Church.

Paramedics pronounced him dead at the scene, the Los Angeles Sheriff's Office said.

The Archdiocese of Los Angeles said O'Connell lived in Hacienda Heights — an unincorporated community about 20 miles (30 kilometers) east of downtown LA.

Detectives said O'Connell's death was being investigated as a homicide.

Authorities have not said whether the bishop was targeted or if his religion was a factor in the killing.

O'Connell, 69, had been a priest for 45 years and was a native of Ireland, according to Angelus News, the archdiocese's news outlet.

O’Connell worked in South Los Angeles for years and focused on gang intervention, Angelus News reported. He later sought to broker peace between residents and law enforcement following the violent 1992 uprising after a jury acquitted four white LA police officers in the beating of Rodney King, a Black man.

Nearly two decades later, O'Connell brought the San Gabriel Valley community together to rebuild a mission there after an arson attack and in recent years spearheaded Catholic efforts in the region to work with immigrant children and families from Central America.

Masses at churches across the region were dedicated to O’Connell on Sunday.