LOS ANGELES (LifeSiteNews) — A tabernacle has been stolen from the residence of the late Bishop David O’Connell, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, who was murdered in his home in Hacienda Heights on February 18.
LifeSiteNews has confirmed directly with the L.A. Sheriff’s Department that between Friday, March 24, and Sunday, March 26, a tabernacle was stolen from the late bishop’s residence, the scene of his murder just over one month ago. An investigation is being conducted into the burglary. The neighborhood of the residence is under video surveillance for security, which the Sheriff’s Department said would be used for the purposes of the investigation.
On February 18, Bishop O’Connell was found dead shortly before 1 p.m. in a home in the 1500 block of Janlu Avenue in Hacienda Heights. L.A. District Attorney George Gascón stated in a press conference on February 22 that the suspect arrested by police, Carlos Medina, admitted to having killed the bishop, while claiming that O’Connell owed him $20,000, a claim that investigators have said they dismissed as a credible motive behind the murder. In a trial hearing last week, on March 22, Medina denied charges in court, pleading “not guilty.”
The D.A. revealed at the February 22. press conference that O’Connell had been hit by “multiple shots,” with sources saying five, in contrast to earlier police reports that indicated that deputies had “found O’Connell with a gunshot wound to his chest.”
The theft of the tabernacle comes as Archbishop Gomez conducted a six-mile Eucharistic procession through the streets of downtown L.A. on Saturday for the feast of the Annunciation, in an effort to renew faith and devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.
READ: Abp. Gomez leads 6-mile Eucharistic procession in downtown LA to revive faith in Real Presence
The details of Saturday’s theft are as yet unknown: whether a suspect has been identified, what the motive for the theft was, whether it is connected to the bishop’s murder, and what kind of security is in place at the bishop’s residence.
The Archdiocese of Los Angeles assured LifeSiteNews in an emailed statement that the Blessed Sacrament was not in the stolen tabernacle.
“The residence where Bishop David O’Connell lived in Hacienda Heights, CA was burglarized this past weekend,” a spokesperson wrote.
“The empty tabernacle from his personal chapel was taken. The matter has been referred to law enforcement for investigation, and security has been enhanced.”
Such information on the theft of the tabernacle will be forthcoming, should it be made available.