A suspect in the murder of a Cork-born bishop in Los Angeles at the weekend has been apprehended.
Named locally but not officially by police, the man is believed to have been taken into custody at his home in Torrance, a coastal city southwest of Los Angeles, two days after Bishop David O’Connell was found shot to death at a house in Hacienda Heights at around 1pm on Saturday.
The bishop’s death shocked the community, which came out to celebrate his life in the aftermath of the murder, surrounding his Janlu Avenue, Hacienda Heights home to hear Fr Albert Avenido lead a prayer service and the Sacred Heart Church choir in Covina honour his life.
Around Janlu Avenue and Los Robles Avenue, there has been a constant presence of mourners taking part in vigils and prayer, while tributes to the Irish bishop have been ongoing.
As the mourning went on, the LA County Sheriff’s Department is believed to have honed in on a suspect, and members of its special enforcement bureau arrived at his home around 11pm on Sunday night local time.
It is believed that the suspect barricaded himself inside the property before he emerged from the home around 9am local time on Monday morning. California time is eight hours behind Ireland.
Local reporting from outlets such as the LA Daily News suggested the suspect’s wife is a devout Catholic known to Bishop O’Connell. It is understood that the suspect’s car was towed from the property.
There was no sign of forced entry at the property where Bishop O’Connell was found dead.
Sheriff Robert Luna of the LA County Sheriff’s Department confirmed a suspect had been apprehended after 10pm Irish time.
Neighbours told local LA media outlets that they were shocked by the suspect’s arrest, as he has been a friendly man, while his wife is described by one as a “wonderful woman”.
Bishop O’Connell was originally from Glanmire. He was ordained a deacon for the Los Angeles diocese by Ballingeary-born Cardinal Timothy Manning and his ordination to the priesthood was carried out by Inniscarra native, then Bishop of Hawaii, Bishop Joseph Scanlan.
Originally from Brooklodge, he was son of the late David and Joan O’Connell.
Bishop O’Connell was the Episcopal Vicar of the San Gabriel Pastoral Region, one of the five Pastoral Regions in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. He was appointed Titular Bishop of Cell Ausaille and Auxiliary Bishop in 2015.
According to the LA diocese, Bishop O’Connell received a BA in Philosophy and English Literature from University College Dublin in 1975, a Bachelor of Divinity from Maynooth College in 1977 and a Masters of Spirituality from Mount St. Mary’s College in 1987.
He served for 45 years in the US, where he was Associate Pastor at