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bishop david o'connell

Murder investigation underway into shooting of Irish bishop in Los Angeles

The shooting of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, who was from Glanmire in Cork, is being investigated as a murder, police said.

POLICE IN LOS Angeles are investigating the death of Cork native Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell who was shot at his east LA home on Saturday.

“This incident is being handled as a murder investigation,” the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department told the LA Times.

Bishop O’Connell, 69, was from Glanmire in Cork and was ordained as a priest in 1979 before moving to Los Angeles County where he worked for the rest of his life. 

He became an auxiliary bishop in 2015.

Archbishop of Los Angeles José H Gomez paid respects to Bishop O’Connell, affectionately known to his community as ‘Bishop Dave’, at Sunday Mass.

“We continue to pray for Bishop Dave, and for his family in Ireland, and we pray for law enforcement officials as they continue their investigation into this terrible crime,” he said.

“He was a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant.”

According to the diocese of Los Angeles’s website, many of the south and east LA communities where Bishop O’Connell worked for 45 years were afflicted by gang violence, poverty and tensions between locals and the LAPD.

When the 1992 LA riots broke out, the auxiliary bishop was in Washington, D.C. testifying before a panel on Capitol Hill about violence in urban America and returned home to find widespread destruction in his parish.

In a statement issued yesterday Bishop Fintan Gavin of O’Connell’s home diocese Cork and Ross, expressed “sympathies and prayerful support to the O’Connell family in Cork, to Archbishop José H. Gomez and the people, priests and religious of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

One parishoner told the LA Times:

“He didn’t hold back his words. He was well spoken. He would take the time. He was very humble. He was never too busy.”

The sherriff of Los Angeles County also paid respects to Bishop O’Connell, stating:

“My heart grieves after learning of the murder of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell. He lovingly served as a priest and Bishop in Los Angeles County for forty-five years. He was a peacemaker and had a passion serving those in need while improving our community.”

“Our thoughts and prayers go to his family and friends. I have also offered our support to Archbishop Gomez and the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.”

He added that the sherriff’s department was “committed to arresting those responsible for this horrible crime”.

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