Boston, Mass., Feb 22, 2023 / 16:40 pm (CNA).
Carlos Medina, the suspect in the murder of Los Angeles Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, was arraigned in state court Wednesday and formally charged with one count of murder and a special allegation that he personally used a firearm.
“This was a brutal act of violence against a person who dedicated his life to making our neighborhoods safer, healthier, and [who always served] with love and compassion,” District Attorney George Gascón said in a Wednesday press release.
“As Catholics around Los Angeles and the nation start the holy season of Lent, let us reflect on Bishop O’Connell’s life of service and dedication to those in greatest need of our care,” Gascón said. “Charging Mr. Medina will never repair the tremendous harm that was caused by this callous act, but it does take us one step closer to accountability.”
News of O’Connell’s death shocked the nation and rocked the local and international Catholic community.
O’Connell was found dead with “at least” one gunshot wound to his upper body on Feb. 18 in his bedroom at his Hacienda Heights home, Los Angeles Sheriff Robert Luna said in a Monday press conference.
After an around-the-clock manhunt for the killer, sheriff’s deputies were tipped about a person of interest in the city of Torrance, which is about a 45-minute drive southwest from Hacienda Heights, where O’Connell was found dead.
Detectives had identified the person of interest as Medina, the husband of O’Connell’s housekeeper, on Sunday evening after the tipster told them that Medina was exhibiting “strange” and “irrational” behavior and had “made comments about the bishop owing him money.”
Police had also discovered video evidence of a “dark-colored, compact SUV” that had pulled into the bishop’s driveway, stayed for a short time, and then left, the sheriff said.
Medina drove a similar type of vehicle, Luna said.
On Monday morning at about 2 a.m. local time, sheriff’s deputies arrived at Medina’s home after being tipped off that he arrived at his residence.
With a warrant in hand for his arrest, sheriff’s deputies called for Medina, 61, to surrender, but he refused to come out of his residence.
The sheriff department’s Special Enforcement Bureau personnel arrived at the scene with an amended warrant to search Medina’s home and arrest him. Medina exited his home and surrendered to authorities at about 8:15 a.m. local time, “without further incident,” Luna said.
Two firearms “and other evidence” possibly incriminating Medina were found at his residence in Torrance during his arrest at approximately 8:15 a.m. Monday, the sheriff said.
Those firearms will be examined and tested in a crime lab to determine if they were used in the murder.
Offering remarks at Monday’s press conference, Los Angeles Archbishop José Gomez broke into tears and struggled to complete his brief comments on Bishop O’Connell.
“Out of his love for God, he served this city for more than 40 years,” Gomez said.
“Every day he worked to show compassion to the poor, to the homeless, to the immigrant, and to all those living on society’s margins. He was a good priest and a good bishop and a man of peace, and we are very sad to lose him,” Gomez said.