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Beloved “peacemaker” bishop of Los Angeles shot dead

A Los Angeles County bishop was found dead of a gunshot wound Saturday, the Los Angeles Times reported, citing a law enforcement source.

Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell, 69, served as a priest and then bishop for more than 45 years. He was found dead at his home in Hacienda Heights, California on Saturday afternoon. He had received a bullet wound in the chest.

“It is a shock and I have no words to express my sadness,” Los Angeles Archbishop Jose H. Gomez said in a statement Saturday.

Gomez described Auxiliary Bishop David O’Connell as a “pacifist with a heart for the poor and immigrants.”

“Bishop Dave was a man of deep prayer … he had a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life is honored and protected.”

Gomez added that O’Connell was a “good friend” who will be greatly missed.

“May the Virgin of Guadalupe wrap him in the mantle of her love, and may the angels take him to paradise, and may he rest in peace,” concluded the archbishop’s statement.

“Homicide detectives are calling [David O’Connell’s] suspected dead,” KCAL reported live from the scene Saturday evening, where mourners had gathered to pray the rosary, light candles and pay their respects.

The cleric was found dead in a room of his home shortly after 1:00 p.m. local time, KCAL reported.

“He was a very good soul … very loving and caring,” Hacienda Heights resident Glendy Perez, one of the mourners outside O’Connell’s home, told the company. “We can’t even imagine something like this happening to him.”

“When I first heard the news today, I was absolutely devastated and heartbroken,” Janice Hahn told KCAL. Supervisor Hahn is a member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

“Bishop David was so known for his love for people [and] his interest in all the causes that really lifted up the poor of Los Angeles County,” Hahn added.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives responded to a shooting death investigation in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights Saturday afternoon, according to a Nixle alert, which the department of the Los Angeles County Sheriff tweeted.

The victim was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the alert. The suspect is unknown.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau encourages anyone with information about the incident to contact them at (323) 890-5500. Alternatively, those who wish to remain anonymous can report through “Crime Stoppers” at (800) 222-TIPS or use the “P3 Tips” mobile app.

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