BREAKING NEWS: AP reports that a suspect has been arrested in the killing of a respected priest who was found dead in a church rectory in Northern California. A statement released by Eureka police says 43-year-old Gary Lee Bullock of Redway was taken into custody on Thursday by Humboldt County deputies in the killing of the Rev. Eric Freed.
Bullock had been name in an arrest warrant. The statement says he had been in and out of police custody in the hours before Freed died.
Officials are still seeking a motive in the killing,
Freed's body was found Wednesday in the St. Bernard Church rectory after he failed to show up for morning Mass.
A popular Catholic priest was found dead in a Northern California church Wednesday morning, and police have launched a murder investigation into his sudden death.
According to CNN, Eureka's police chief says authorities found a dead body in the rectory of St. Bernard's Church after receiving a call from a staff member.
Police wouldn't identify the victim at first. But soon after, the the town's mayor announced it was Reverend Eric Freed who was found dead at the scene.
"Father Eric was a friend of mine, a tremendous person. And this is an absolutely tremendous loss not only for the St. Bernard’s parish, but for our community." (Via KIEM)
According to the Eureka Times-Standard, Freed was well-loved by his parishioners ever since he became St. Bernard's pastor in August 2011.
He also reportedly taught in the religious studies department at Humboldt University for more than 10 years. (Via WXIX)
Authorities say they don't have any suspects in the case, but the police chief promised they would do everything possible to thoroughly investigate the incident.
"Since it was not a normal circumstance, investigators have been called and we've assembled a team with as much expertise as we can possibly muster to make sure that this investigation is thorough and complete and timely." (Via WTOC)
Police haven't released any more details about the crime scene, though they did say the death was violent.