***Scroll down for updates***
A Catholic priest from St. Bernard Church in Eureka, California has been found dead in the church’s rectory, and police are investigating it as a homicide.
Eureka, California, Police Chief Andy Mills said officers — responding to a call from staff at St. Bernard Church — first came across the victim around 9 a.m. Wednesday. He did not elaborate on how the death occurred, adding Wednesday night that there were no suspects.
The victim is Reverend Eric Freed, and the St. Bernard parish website has him listed as the pastor. His car is missing, and police are asking the public for help in finding the gray Nissan Altima Hybrid, with the license plate 6NDW400.
Chief Mills said during a press conference in front of the church Wednesday that his department will expend every resource to conduct a complete and thorough investigation.
The Humboldt Beacon is reporting that on Wednesday afternoon at another church about two miles away, police were called for a reported unlawful entry. A church employee went inside the church and noticed a man inside. The man fled the scene when police were called. Police say they aren’t sure if the two incidents are related, but they are looking into the possibility.
It appears that Rev. Freed was a very well-liked man in the community, and his death will certainly affect many.
I’m sure more info will come out as this case progresses, and I’ll post any updates below.
Anyone with information regarding the vehicle or the case, call Eureka Police Department at 441-4044.
UPDATE: 1/3/14 2:54 PM
Police have arrested 43-year-old Gary Lee Bullock for the murder of Rev. Freed. Bullock had been in custody three hours prior to the slaying, charged with public intoxication.
Bullock apparently fled 45 minutes from the parish to a family member’s house in Freed’s car, police told CNN. One of Bullock’s relatives called police.
Police say they have not established a motive yet for the killing.
– Beloved Catholic priest found slain in California church rectory
– Eureka priest slain; popular Rev. Eric Freed found dead Wednesday
– Man suspected of killing priest was in police custody before slaying