Update- Fri., Jan. 10, 2014: On Fri. Jan., 10, 2014, Christina Aanestad interviewed Sheriff Mike Downey about the murder of Father Eric Freed and the circumstances involving the arrested suspect in the case, Gary Lee Bullock. See the post and press release below. Bullock was arrested on December 31, 2013, the day before the homicide, for public intoxication and then released at 12:34 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2014. At about 9 a.m. on Jan. 1, officers were dispatched to the St.Bernard Church Rectory in Eureka where they found Father Erick Freed deceased, and on Jan. 2 Bullock was arrested for the murder. Sheriff Downey responds to criticism that law enforcement could have done more. Use the KMUD News SoundCloud player below to hear the interview.
According to a report on the Times Standard.com website, Eureka Police Department Chief Andrew Mills confirmed the arrest, at 12:30 pm today, Jan. 2, 2014, of Gary Lee Bullock (shown in the photo) as a suspect in the murder of Father Eric Freed. Bullock was located in a house in the Briceland area and is currently being held by Humboldt County Sheriff's deputies. Father Freed was found mortally injured Wed., Jan 1, 2014 by Deacon Frank Weber, in the Rectory of St. Bernard Church in Eureka after Father Freed failed to show up to conduct Mass. Earlier today, before the arrest, the Eureka Police Department distributed a press release announcing the arrest warrant and hunt for Gary Lee Bullock. The press release appears below. Tune into the 6 pm Local News on KMUD tonight to hear more on this story.
Use the player below to hear a report on the arrest of Gary Lee Bullock. The report was submitted by KMUD News Correspondent, Daniel Mintz, and aired on Thurs., Jan 2, 2014.
Press release from the Eureka Police Department, dated Thurs., Jan. 2, 2014:
The Eureka Police Department announced an arrest warrant today for Gary Lee Bullock has been obtained for the murder of Father Eric Freed. Bullock is a white male 6'1”, 195 pounds and has dark colored hair. His last known address was Redway, California. The facts of the case are as follows: On December 31, 2013 Bullock was the subject of a radio call regarding a person who was acting strangely in the Garberville area of southern Humboldt County. Humboldt County deputies located and arrested Bullock for public intoxication. He was taken to jail where he was rejected due to his erratic behavior. Bullock was then taken to the hospital for evaluation where he became more agitated and had to be physically restrained by deputies. Bullock was ultimately booked into jail at 4:34 p.m.
Gary Bullock was released at 12:34 a.m. on Jan. 1. At about 2 a.m. hours officers from Eureka Police Department were dispatched to 615 H Street, regarding a suspicious person. Officers contacted Bullock and found that Bullock was not intoxicated, and did not qualify for an emergency psychological hold. Officers referred Bullock to an emergency shelter for the night.
Later that evening a security guard heard noise in the area of the church and went to investigate. He saw a person matching Bullock's description and directed him to leave the property after a short conversation.
At about 9 a.m. officers were dispatched to the church Rectory where parishioners found Reverend Father Erick Freed badly injured. Officers and a doctor, who is a parishioner at Saint Bernard, observed that he was deceased. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined and an autopsy is scheduled for Saturday. It does appear that there was blunt force trauma to the victim.
EPD's investigation into this homicide has revealed that forced entry was made into the parsonage and a violent struggle ensued. The pastor's vehicle was also noticed missing during the crime scene search. That vehicle is a dark gray 2010 Nissan Hybrid bearing California license plate 6NDW400. Residents are asked to be on the lookout for Gary Bullock and the Pastor's missing vehicle. If spotted they should immediately contact local law enforcement and do not approach the subject. There are currently more than 25 officers, detectives and agents assigned to the task of finding Gary Bullock and bringing him to justice. If friends, family or associates have had contact with Bullock they need to call Detective Sergeant Bill Nova immediately. He can be reached at (707) 268 5261.