Police have issued an arrest warrant for the man suspected of brutally murdering a California Catholic priest on Wednesday. The suspect is still at large, the police report today. Father Eric Freed was found dead in the rectory by a deacon of the church who went to look for him when he was late for the morning mass, according to NBC News on Jan. 2.
The suspect’s name is Gary Lee Bullock, a man who had given police a fair amount of problems the night before Father Freed was killed. Calls came into the Eureka Police station about a man acting oddly. When police arrived at the location it was Bullock who they arrested for public intoxication.
He was taken into lockup but they wouldn’t take him because of his “erratic behavior.” Police then transported him to a psychiatric hospital where he was held and evaluated. He was released early Wednesday morning. It wasn’t long before police got another call about Bullock as a “suspicious person.” He was not intoxicated, so he was referred to a homeless shelter.
Right before church on Sunday morning a person matching Bullock’s description was on church property and he was told to leave by the guard at the church. It was following this incident that the deacon went to look for Father Freed because he didn’t show up to give mass with the congregation waiting. The priest was found dead in the rectory.
The police said that Father Freed was a victim of a “violent crime,” but how he was killed is not known. There were signs of forced entry and signs of a struggle inside the rectory where the priest’s lifeless body was discovered.
Police report that the priest’s cause of death has not been determined, but an autopsy, which is scheduled for Saturday, should shed some light on what happened.
Bullock is still at large and police have released a photo of him, as seen above, in hopes that if someone in the public sees him, they will call the police.