Suspect arrested in Bishop David O’Connell’s murder is husband of his housekeeper, Los Angeles County sheriff says

The husband of Bishop David O’Connell’s housekeeper has been arrested for his murder, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department announced Monday.

Police arrested 65-year-old Carlos Medina following an overnight standoff at his home in Torrance, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference. 

O’Connell, the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who was 69, was found with a gunshot wound to his upper body n the bedroom of his Hacienda Heights home on Saturday afternoon. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Luna told reporters that police found the death “suspicious” but they recovered no firearm at the scene and there was no sign of forced entry into the home. Detectives canvassed the neighborhood and found surveillance footage of a dark colored compact SUV pulling into O’Connell’s driveway, Luna said.

Then on Sunday morning, detectives received a tip about Medina, who was said to be acting “strange, irrational,  and making comments about the bishop owing him money,” Luna said. 

Medina is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper and had previously done work around the bishop’s residence, and also drove a similar SUV to the one seen in the video, Luna said. 

He said the tipster told detectives that Medina had left his Torrance home to go to the Central California area, but at around 2 a.m. Monday morning, a community member told police Medina had returned home. Authorities surrounded Medina’s home and called for him to surrender but he refused. Then around 8:15 a.m. Medina exited his residence and was taken into custody without further incident, Luna said. 

Authorities recovered two firearms and other possible evidence, which Luna said would be examined to determine if they were connected to the murder.

Luna lamented the murder of the bishop, calling O’Connell a “pillar in our community.”

“My heart grieves,” he told reporters. “Although I personally did not know the bishop, I cannot tell you how many phone calls I have gotten from people who have worked with him and this man, this bishop, made a huge difference in our community. He was loved. And it is very sad we’re gathered here today to talk about his murder.” 

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Bishop David O’Connell.

Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

O’Connell had been a priest for 45 years and was a native of Ireland, according to Angelus News, the archdiocese’s news outlet. Pope Francis had named him one of several auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles — the largest in the country — in 2015.

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.

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