Categorized | Crime, Local

Suspect of Slain Priest Taken Into Custody

 

Gary Lee Bullock Released From County Jail Just Hours Before Slaying

(VIDEO)

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Authorities have taken into custody a California man who they
believe killed a Roman Catholic priest in a Eureka church rectory,
the Chief of Police said. 

He was taken into custody in Southern Humboldt this afternoon.

Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills announced Thursday that an arrest warrant had been issued for Gary Lee Bullock, asking for the public’s help in tracking down him and a 2010 Nissan hybrid belonging to the slain priest.

The previous day, the Rev. Eric Freed was found dead in the rectory at St. Bernard Church in the coastal Northern California city.  While he hasn’t given a motive, Mills elaborated Thursday that Freed died after suffering “blunt force trauma” following a “violent struggle.”

His gruesome death — which the county coroner official ruled a homicide on Thursday — has shaken many in and around Eureka, both members of the parish he served, the nearby university where he taught and the community at large.

“Eric knew as well as anybody just how senseless violence could be,” said Wiliam Herbrechtsmeier, a professor at Humboldt State University where Freed had taught since 2007.  ”When a fine person like him is brought down– that’s just tragic.”

Bullock wasn’t unknown to local authorities;  in fact, he’d been in custody earlier on the same day that Freed was found dead.

Police explained that, on New Year’s Eve, Humboldt County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of a person “acting strangely” in Garberville.  They went to the scene and arrested Bullock for public intoxication, taking him to a jail where “he was rejected due to his erratic behavior,” Eureka police said in a press release.

Bullock — who last known address is in Redway, California — was then moved to a nearby hospital “where he became more agitated and had to be physically restrained by deputies,” police added.  He was eventually booked into a jail shortly after 4:30 p.m. that day, staying there for over 8 hours before his release at 12:43 a.m. on January 1.

Less than two hours later, police got a call about a suspicious person at St. Bernard Church.  Officers found Bullock but, as he wasn’t “intoxicated and did not qualify for an emergency psychological hold,” didn’t detain him but instead referred him to a shelter, Mills said.

At some point in the hours after that, a guard at Freed’s church found a person matching Bullock’s description on the premises and told him to leave, police said.

It was at 9 a.m. that authorities were called back to St. Bernard, this time after church staff came across Freed– who officers and a doctor, who happened to be a parishioner, both determined was already dead.  Mills said police later determined there were signs of “forced entry” and the aforementioned struggle.

Hours later, mourning parishioners and community leaders gathered outside the church-turned-crime scene to remember the late priest.

Mayor Frank Jager said Freed was a personal friend and
a “tremendous person in this community” since his arrival
three years ago.  

The 56-year-old’s loss was felt deeply elsewhere as well.

“He was a really, genuinely warm individual,” said professor Stephen Cunha, the chairman of Humboldt State University’s religious studies department where Freed taught. “… Kind is the word that comes to mind, sensitive.”

Just a few days ago, the priest sent a note to his parishioners, thanking them for their support and prayers and wishing them a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

“I cannot tell you how proud and honored I am to be your pastor,” Freed wrote in a letter posted on the parish website.  ”Our parish is alive, joyful and full of faith, hope and charity that define us as Catholic Christians.”

While he was relatively new to St. Bernard, Freed had already made an impact there and elsewhere around Eureka– including with the city’s Japanese-American community, as Freed lived in Japan for many years– Jager told reporters.

“This is an absolutely tremendous loss not only for the St. Bernard’s Parish, but for our community generally,” the mayor said.  ”For those of us who believe in prayer, this is the time for that.”

Freed’s ties to Humbodt State went back even longer.  A guest lecturer, he wrote a book about the first atomic bomb and also taught about the New
Testament, connecting with Christians and non-Christians alike.

“He was very well respected, very well liked and had a tremendous working knowledge as well as academic knowledge,” Cunha said.  ”… To think that he passed in this way: It’s just layers of grief and shock.”

Herbrechtsmeier said he got to know Freed well not just at Humboldt State but outside as well, often joining the enthusiastic pastor– a diehard University of Southern California Trojan fan– to watch sports and enjoy some laughs.

Noting that students at the state university loved Freed, who was also deeply involved in that school’s Catholic student group, the Newman Center, Cunha added:  This was not some stuffy clergyman. He was very much someone that you could sit down and speak with…

“He connected with everybody.”

 

(Via Yahoo and CNN News)

See also our other articles: 

One Slain Priest and the Lost City of Crime and Rev. Freed’s Slaying and the Deadly Probation Fail

Please share, link, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

One Response to “Suspect of Slain Priest Taken Into Custody”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. [...] EPD announced an arrest warrant for the murder of Father Eric [...]


Leave a Reply

HumSentinel on Twitter

RSS Progressive Review

  • LePage wants to candy from a baby. . . if they're poor enough
    Laura Clawson, Daily Kos - Maine Gov. Paul LePage is the latest to push for harsher limits on what foods people can buy with food stamps. Because it's not enough that people have tiny food budgets and periodic humiliation in the grocery checkout line, we need laws that stigmatize people's eating habits, too."Multiple Red Bulls in one purchase, […]
  • The interesting history of farm CSAs
    Mother Earth News […]
  • Homeless at college
    Alternet - While no exact figures are available, the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth reports a large increase in homeless students."We're hearing from the college presidents and leadership that more and more students are struggling," Michelle Asha Cooper of the Institute for Higher Education told reporters […]
  • The real economy: Retirement
    A new survey finds that nearly one third of people who have some sort of savings plan have amassed less than $1,000 for retirement.More real economy […]
  • It's the 0.01 percent - not the 1 percent - who are buying our elections
    Mother Jones - Between 1980 and 2012, the share of federal campaign contributions coming from the very, very biggest political spenders—the top 0.01 percent of donors—nearly tripledIn other words, a small handful of Americans control more than 40 percent of election contributions. Notably, between 2010 and 2012, the total share of giving by these donors jump […]
  • Police beat
    Aaron Wiener, Washington City Paper - It started like so many cases that come through the D.C. Superior Court. On a Saturday morning earlier this month, a homeless man appeared before a judge for an arraignment on charges of unlawful entry, bail violation, and failure to appear for a status hearing.The defendant, Alfred Postell, appeared confused. When the c […]
  • Lake Mead heads for record low
    Las Vegas Review Journal - Sunday’s forecast for Lake Mead calls for breezy conditions, with a high in the low 80s and a water level as low as it has been in 78 years.The reservoir east of Las Vegas is expected to reach a new record low this weekend and continue downward another 7 feet through June, as the drought-stricken Colorado River withers from its 12t […]
  • Supreme Court puts one restraint on cops
    Brad Blog - Earlier this week, the U.S. Supreme Court severely curtailed the government's ability to utilize a routine traffic stop as an excuse to subject motorists to a canine-sniff of their vehicles as a precursor to a search for narcotics.In Rodriguez v. United States, the Court ruled that the right of "seizure" during a routine traffic st […]
  • US poetry audience dying
    Washington Post   In 1992, 17 percent of Americans had read a work of poetry at least once in the past year. 20 years later that number had fallen by more than half, to 6.7 percent. Those numbers come from the national Survey of Public Participation in the Arts , a massive survey that's run every few years as part of the Census Bureau's Current Pop […]
  • The role of the church in fighting poverty
    David Cay Johnson, Al Jazeera America - Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is now officially classified as poor. This fact naturally raises a question: Where are the religious leaders whose scriptures tell them that caring for their 60 million impoverished neighbors is their central moral duty?I posed this question at a tax conference in New York City this week to one […]
  • Our disappearing glaciers
    By 2030, all 150 glaciers in Glacier National Park will vanish. A video shows what's happened […]
  • Department of Good Stuff: Mid East
    Juan Cole Mondoweiss Tikun Olam […]
  • Word
    The white poor also suffer deprivation and the humiliation of poverty if not of color. They are chained by the weight of discrimination though its badge of degradation does not mark them. It corrupts their lives, frustrates their opportunities and withers their education. In one sense it is more evil for them because it has confused so many by prejudice that […]
  • Jazz break
     Diana Krall: Fly Me to the Moon […]
  • The biggest threat to America: Ourselves
    From our overstocked archives  Sam Smith 20011 - Based on facts and not posturing, the greatest damage to the United States over the past decade has been done by its politicians and their embedded media rather than Al Qaeda and similar groups. For example:- During this period the United States government has not taken a single significant step to reduce host […]