by Steve Gorman
(MAINNEWS) – LOS ANGELES, Four days after a Roman Catholic bishop was found shot to death in his suburban Los Angeles home, prosecutors on Wednesday charged the husband of the cleric’s housekeeper with murdering the prelate, the district attorney’s office said.
David O’Connell, 69, a native of Ireland and one of several auxiliary bishops for the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles, was found slain Saturday afternoon in the bedroom of his Hacienda Heights home, sparking an intense manhunt for the killer.
The murder stunned the archdiocese, which ranks as the largest in the United States with some 5 million parishioners, as Catholics around the world readied for observance of Ash Wednesday and the six-week period of pertinence known as Lent.
The suspect, Carlos Medina, was arrested on Monday by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies acting on an anonymous tip from someone who reported observing Medina behaving strangely and commenting that the bishop owed him money, Sheriff Robert Luna said.
Medina, 61, was taken into custody following an hours-long standoff with law enforcement officers at his home in Torrance, just south of Los Angeles, according to the sheriff’s department.
He was charged with one count of murder by use of a firearms, and was due to be arraigned later on Wednesday, the county District Attorney’s Office said.
A motive for the killing remained under investigation, but Luna said Medina is the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper and had previously done work at the bishop’s home himself.
Los Angeles Archbishop Jose Gomez paid tribute to O’Connell as a “man of peace.”
“Every day he worked to show compassion to the poor, the homeless, to the immigrant, and to all those living on society’s margins. He was good priest,” Gomez told reporters on Monday.
O’Connell served as founder and chairman of a Catholic task force that helped scores of migrant who entered the United States without adult companions.
He gained a reputation in the 1990s for seeking to repair relations between residents of riot-torn neighborhoods and law enforcement following the videotaped beating of Black motorist Rodney King by a group of white Los Angeles police officers, according to the Los Angeles Times.