A man arrested Monday morning in connection with the fatal shooting of Catholic Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell is believed to be the husband of the bishop’s housekeeper, Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna announced Monday.
During an afternoon news conference, Luna identified the suspect as Carlos Medina, 65, of Torrance.
Medina’s home in the 20400 block of Kenwood Avenue was the site of an hourslong standoff early Monday morning. Law enforcement officers surrounded the home and attempted to get Medina to surrender, but he initially refused. The standoff continued for several hours until Medina was finally taken into custody around 8:15 a.m., Luna said.
A search warrant was executed at his home where authorities found two firearms and additional evidence that linked him to the crime, Luna said.
O’Connell, 69, of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles was found shot to death inside his Hacienda Heights home in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue just before 1 p.m. Saturday.
When authorities arrived they found O’Connell dead from a single gunshot wound to the upper torso in the bedroom of his home.
Luna said there was no sign of forced entry into O’Connell’s home and no murder weapon was recovered at the scene.
Surveillance video from nearby showed a dark compact SUV pull into the driveway of O’Connell’s home around the time the shooting is believed to have occurred.
Medina owns a vehicle matching that description, Luna added.
Investigators spoke to several people who know Medina who said he had recently been acting strange and irrationally, and was making comments about Bishop O’Connell “owing him money.”
Luna said detectives are trying to determine if a dispute over money played a role in the killing.
Medina’s wife worked as a housekeeper for O’Connell, Luna said, adding that Medina had been at the bishop’s home in the past.
“The suspect had previously done work around the bishop’s residence,” Luna said.
Authorities are working to confirm if either of the firearms confiscated during the search of Medina’s home is the same weapon used in his slaying.
O’Connell, who was a native of County Cork, Ireland, had served in the Los Angeles Archdiocese since 1979.
“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,” Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said in a statement.
At a vigil outside O’Connell’s home Sunday evening, parishioners expressed shock and sorrow. He was described as loveable and humble.
“Everybody’s loss. Everybody that knew Father, everybody that knew Bishop O’Connell … I mean, it’s just devastating,” Jerry Dietz told KTLA.
Luna said during Monday’s press conference that additional details will be released when it is appropriate, but stressed that the priority of his department is to ensure that Medina is successfully prosecuted.