UPDATE, Jan. 2, 2013, 5:49 p.m.:
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 today by Humboldt County deputies in the killing of the Rev. Eric Freed. Officials are still seeking a motive in the killing. The priest died of blunt force trauma on New Year's Eve.
Freed was described as a popular priest who was also teaching at the religious studies department at Humboldt State University.
UPDATE, Jan. 2, 2013, 2:18 p.m.:
Eureka police say officers have taken a man into custody who they believe killed a respected priest and educator in a church rectory.
Mary Kirby of the Eureka Police Department told KCRA that investigators had taken a man into custody in southern Humboldt County and they were "pretty certain" it is the suspect.
Eureka police were trying to locate 43-year-old Gary Lee Bullock of Redway in connection with the killing of the Rev. Eric Freed.
Freed died of blunt-force trauma before being discovered Wednesday morning in the St. Bernard Church rectory by a deacon.
UPDATE, Jan. 2, 2013, 12:30 p.m.:
Police on Thursday named Gary Lee Bullock a suspect in the death of a beloved Eureka priest, and announced that an arrest warrant for him has been issued.
Authorities are looking for Bullock and for Father Eric Freed’s vehicle, a 2010 Nissan Altima.
Eureka Police Chief Andy Mills did not give a suspected motive for the killing, but described a series of run-ins with the law that Bullock had in the hours before Freed’s death.
A beloved priest was found murdered in the rectory of a church in a North Coast town.
Father Freed of St. Bernard Catholic Church lived in Japan for two decades, was close to Eureka's Japanese community, and taught religious studies at Humboldt State University.
He died New Year's Eve in a violent killing in the rectory of the church in Eureka -- his body discovered by a deacon who went looking for him after he missed 9 a.m. mass.
Eureka Mayor Frank Jager spoke to the community who are reeling from the news.
"Those of us that believe in prayer -- this is the time for that," he said.
Meanwhile, Police Chief Andrew Mills addressed the investigation.
"We've assembled a team with as much expertise as we can possibly muster to make sure that this investigation is thorough and complete and timely," he said.
There are no details about the killing and no suspects. Statewide, law enforcement agencies are looking for Freed's 2010 Nissan Altima Hybrid.
The dark gray sedan has the license: 6NDW400. If you see it, or have any information regarding the death of Freed you are encouraged to notify the Eureka Police Department at 707-441-4044.