Suspect in killing of Eureka priest is arrested
The man wanted in connection with the killing of a popular Roman Catholic priest in Eureka was arrested Thursday, hours after a warrant was issued, authorities said.
Gary Lee Bullock was arrested in the Garberville area after he was pulled over, according to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department. An arrest warrant had been issued earlier in the day as police investigated the violent death of the Rev. Eric Freed, whose body was found inside St. Bernard Church on New Year’s Day after he failed to show up for Mass.
Police won’t say how Freed was killed. His death stunned the community, where he was described as well-liked and popular.
“It’s an incredible tragedy for the community and for the local Catholic church here. It’s gut-wrenching,” Eureka Mayor Frank Jager told The Times.
Freed was found dead in the church rectory on Wednesday, the same day Bullock was released from jail for being drunk in public on New Year’s Eve, according to Eureka police. The jail at first had refused to take him because of elevated blood pressure and erratic behavior, so he was sent to a hospital for medical evaluation.
“He was being confrontational too,” said Mary Kirby, an assistant to Eureka Police Chief Andrew Mills.
After an examination, Bullock was jailed, held for several hours and released on New Year’s Day. Later that day, someone matching Bullock’s description was seen by a security guard in the area of St. Bernard Church and was told to leave, according to police.
Few details were immediately available on Bullock’s arrest, including the exact time it was made. It also wasn’t known what vehicle he was driving when deputies pulled him over. Eureka police had been seeking Freed’s missing Nissan Altima hybrid.
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