Police Arrest Suspect in California Priest’s Murder

Gary Lee Bullock was taken into custody in Humboldt County

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Priest Slaying
Eureka Police Department / AP

This undated photo released by the Eureka Police Department shows Gary Lee Bullock

Police arrested a suspect Thursday in the murder of a popular priest who was found slain in his church on New Years’ Day. Authorities apprehended Gary Lee Bullock, 43, for allegedly bludgeoning Rev. Eric Freed to death.

Bullock had been in and out of police custody in the hours before Freed’s death, according to the police. He was arrested for public intoxication¬†on the night of the killing, and taken to a hospital. He then spent eight hours in jail before being released around midnight. Later that night, a security guard found a man matching Bullock’s description at Freed’s church, and asked him to leave the property, the Associated Press reports.

Investigators found signs of a forced entry and struggle at the church, but have not yet identified when exactly the priest was murdered.