LOS ANGELES (CN) — The husband of Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell's housekeeper was charged with murdering the elderly clergyman at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Hacienda Heights.
Carlos Medina, 61, faces a charge of one count of murder and a special allegation that he personally used a firearm, according to a statement Wednesday by LA County District Attorney George Gascón.
“This was a brutal act of violence against a person who dedicated his life to making our neighborhoods safer, healthier and always serving with love and compassion,” Gascón said.
The murder of the well-loved bishop, who was known for his work for the poor, homeless and immigrant communities all across LA County, over the weekend caused a stir locally and prompted nonstop effort by law enforcement to track down his killer.
O'Connell was found shot in his bedroom on Saturday afternoon. There was no sign of forced entry and no firearm was found at the residence, LA County Sheriff Robert Luna said at a news conference Monday announcing Medina's arrest. Detectives received a tip Sunday evening that Medina was acting strangely and saying that the bishop owed him money, according to Luna.
Surveillance video showed a car in O'Connell's driveway Saturday that matched Medina's. He is the husband of O'Connell's housekeeper and had previously done work at the bishop's home, according to the sheriff.
"This man, this bishop made a huge difference in our community," Luna said. "He was loved."
O'Connell was born in Ireland in 1953 and trained for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin. He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979, and he was appointed auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese in 2015 by Pope Francis. He was fluent in Spanish with an Irish accent, Archbishop José Gómez said at Monday's news conference.
"Bishop David was a good friend to Los Angeles," Gómez said. "Out of his love for God, he served this city for more than 40 years as an immigrant from Ireland."
Detectives continue to investigate the killing, including Medina's motives. The housekeeper is cooperating with the investigation, Luna said Monday.
"In the midst of the media frenzy, and as the community mourns a loss, we remind everyone that the linchpin of our criminal legal system is the presumption of innocence," said Dana Boldt, a spokeswoman for the LA County Public Defender's Office, which is representing Medina.
Read the Top 8
Sign up for the Top 8, a roundup of the day's top stories delivered directly to your inbox Monday through Friday.