A Cork-born bishop was shot dead in Los Angeles on Saturday, just blocks away from a Catholic church. 

Bishop David O'Connell, 69, originally from Glanmire in County Cork, was shot dead in Hacienda Heights, shocking the religious community in Los Angeles, California. 

The LA Sheriff's Department said on Sunday that O'Connell's death was being treated as murder after initially being viewed as suspicious. 

Authorities did not say if the bishop was the target of Saturday's attack and have not yet identified any suspects in connection to the shooting. 

Bishop O'Connell was a priest for 45 years and was named an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope Francis in 2015, according to the  Angelus News. 

The Irish bishop worked in South LA for many years, focusing on gang intervention. 

He earned a reputation as a "peacemaker" and sought to broker peace between LA residents and law enforcement following the acquittal of four white police officers for the beating of Rodney King, a black man, which caused the outbreak of riots.

Two decades later, Bishop O'Connell brought the San Gabriel Valley together to help rebuild a local church following an arson attack. 

Bishop O'Connell also helped organize retreats for men, focusing on how to be good husbands and fathers, which he believed was key to the health of local communities. 

He was found with a gunshot wound in Hacienda Heights at about 1 p.m. on Saturday, just blocks away from  St John Vianney Catholic Church, which is part of his archdiocese. 

Paramedics pronounced Bishop O'Connell dead at the scene, the LA Sheriff's Office said in a statement. 

According to the archdiocese, Bishop O'Connell lived in Hacienda Heights, but the Sheriff's Office did not say whether he had been found dead in his home or not. 

A small number of people gathered for a candlelit vigil at the scene of the shooting on Saturday evening, while prayers were said for him in Glounthaune, County Cork, on Sunday morning. 

Speaking at the St John Vianney Catholic Church on Sunday, LA priest Fr. Joe Choi described Bishop O'Connell as an "important, wonderful, and beautiful figure of our faith". 

"We will miss hearing his jokes and hearing his Irish brogue and having his presence in our community," Fr. Choi told parishioners on Sunday.

A second vigil will take place in the parish during the week. 

Archbishop José H. Gomez of Los Angeles said in a statement that he had "no words" to express his sadness following Bishop O'Connell's death, adding that the Irish bishop was "a man of deep prayer who had a great love for Our Blessed Mother". 

"He was a peacemaker with a heart for the poor and the immigrant, and he had a passion for building a community where the sanctity and dignity of every human life was honored and protected.

"He was also a good friend, and I will miss him greatly." 

Here's a Sunday report on Bishop O'Connell's murder from LA local Fox News: