A 61-year-old man was taken into custody Monday morning by Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies as the prime suspect in the murder of Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell of Los Angeles.

LA County Sheriff Robert G. Luna announced at a press conference Monday afternoon at the Los Angeles County Hall of Justice in downtown LA that citizen tips led to the 8:15 a.m. arrest of Carlos Medina, the husband of a housekeeper who had worked at Bishop O’Connell’s home in Hacienda Heights, after an all-night search.

O’Connell, a native of Ireland who spent most of his 43 years as a priest serving in LA’s inner-city, was found dead in his home on the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 18. 

The next day, the LA Sheriff’s department announced that O’Connell’s death was being investigated as a homicide.

Sheriff Luna established a timeline based on the work of detectives that indicated at 7 p.m., Sunday, a tip was received linking Medina to the murder. 

“They were concerned he was acting strange [and] irrational, and made comments about the bishop owing him money,” Luna said of the tip from the informant.

The tipster also said Medina had left his residence in Torrance and was headed for the Central California area.


Area Catholics gathered the evening of Feb. 19, 2023, to pray outside the Hacienda Heights home where Bishop David OConnell was found dead a day earlier. (Natalie Romano)

After obtaining an arrest warrant, police began a search of Medina’s home. Another tip at 2 a.m. Monday indicated that Medina had returned home, and LA Sheriff’s Carson Station deputies were dispatched to the scene. Medina refused to come out of his residence when asked to surrender, Luna said.

The original search warrant was amended so Medina’s house could be searched again. A tactical team dispatched again called for Medina’s surrender and he was then taken into custody without further incident.

Luna said two firearms were recovered and are being tested to see if they were used in the murder.

In an emotional press conference, Luna said “my heart grieves” for the death of O’Connell, based on all the calls of support he received in the investigation over the last 48 hours.

“This man, this bishop, made a huge difference in our community,” said Luna. “He was loved. It is very sad that we are gathered here today about this murder.”

Overcome with emotion, Archbishop José H. Gomez stopped several times during his remarks at the press conference to collect himself. At one point, Sheriff Luna put his arm around his shoulder to comfort him.

“On behalf of our entire community, I want to share thanks for your professionalism and sensitivity,” Archbishop Gomez said of the investigation. “It is a sad and painful moment for all of us. Let us keep praying for Bishop Dave and his family, just as he prayed for law enforcement officials.”

Sunday morning, Gomez called on Catholics to pray for the late bishop and those investigating his death. 

“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 at a Mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels that morning.  

O'Connell Guadalupe

Auxiliary Bishop David O'Connell with Archbishop Jose H. Gomez during the annual Guadalupe procession through the streets of East LA on Dec. 4, 2022 (Victor Alemán)

Sheriff Luna confirmed a deacon who worked with Bishop O’Connell was the first to find him in his home. The deacon went to check on the bishop after he didn’t show up to a meeting that morning, then dialed 911. Bishop O’Connell was found in his bed with at least one gunshot wound. No firearm was recovered at the home, nor was there a sign of forced entry, Luna said.

After interviewing neighbors, Luna said surveillance video showed a vehicle had pulled into Bishop O’Connell’s driveway — a dark-colored compact SUV — which was later linked to the car his housekeeper had used.

Luna emphasized their investigation has not confirmed anything about a financial dispute between Medina and O’Connell, only that that information came from a witness.

“Our investigation continues … to get a better picture of what happened here,” said Luna. “The detectives will go out and validate.”

Luna added that not all information from the investigation will be revealed yet, as “keeping the integrity of the investigation is a priority,” he said. “The next step is to present all of the evidence and try to get a criminal prosecution [filed against] Medina.”

Bishop O’Connell was originally from Brooklodge, Glanmire, in County Cork, the largest county in Ireland. He studied for the priesthood at All Hallows College in Dublin and was ordained to serve in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1979.

O’Connell was named an auxiliary bishop of Los Angeles by Pope Francis in July 2015. Since then, he had served as episcopal vicar for the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, one of the LA Archdiocese’s five regions. 

During his time as auxiliary bishop in Los Angeles, evangelization, pastoral care for immigrants, and ensuring the future of his region’s Catholic schools were all top priorities for O’Connell, who believed that “parishes and schools are powerful instruments of transformation of people's lives and of neighborhoods.”

Before being named a bishop, he was well known for his pastoral work in South LA — where he served as pastor of four different parishes — in the years before and after the 1992 Rodney King riots. He played a key role, along with other local faith leaders, in bringing together communities already suffering from gang violence, poverty, and drugs while working to restore trust between community members and law enforcement. 

Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported murder suspect Carlos Medina's age as 65, the age initially given by the LA County Sheriff's Department. Court documents have since shown that his actual age is 61, and this story has been updated accordingly.