Authorities say 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.
“The reverend was a victim of a violent crime,” Eureka police Chief Andrew Mills said. “We’re not sure on the motive but don’t believe it was a robbery at this point.”
Mills did not release the cause of death, saying police were awaiting a coroner’s report. Mills said it was not a shooting.
Eureka Mayor Frank Jager said Freed was a close friend and a well-liked member of the community.
“This is an absolutely tremendous loss, not only for the St. Bernard’s parish, but for our community in general,” Jager said.