Thursday, January 2, 2014

News Conference Video: Priest murdered in Eureka, CA rectory

Very sad news in California as a town finds a local Catholic pastor murdered in the rectory.  Please pray for the repose of his soul and for the person who committed the crime. Few details were revealed about the murder itself.  From the Humbolt Beacon:

The Eureka Police Department launched a murder investigation Wednesday after a popular St. Bernard Church priest was found dead after failing to show up to Mass. 
Police Chief Andrew Mills declined to identify the victim in the case, but Mayor Frank Jager confirmed that Rev. Eric Freed was found deceased in the rectory building on the church property shortly after 9 a.m. Wednesday. 
Parishioner Winette Treder said she was in the church -- located at Sixth and H streets -- for Mass at 9 a.m. She said when Freed didn't show up, Deacon Frank Weber went to look for him. 
”He came in and said there was something terribly wrong with Father Eric,” Treder said, adding that she and fellow parishioners then said the Rosary for Freed until police eventually asked them to leave the church.
 Fr. Freed's car is missing….
During the press conference, Mills declined to comment on Freed, the condition in which he was found or anything about a possible motive in the case. 
”It's just too early in the investigation to give that kind of information,” he said.
EPD is seeking the public's assistance in locating Freed's vehicle, a gray Nissan Altima Hybrid, license plate 6NDW400. Mills said it's unclear when the vehicle was last seen or if it was at St. Bernard Church prior to Freed's death, but the department is warning anyone who may see the vehicle not to approach it and to instead call police.
More about the priest:
A popular priest, Freed was formally installed as St. Bernard's Parish pastor in August 2011. In addition to his priestly duties, Freed also taught in the Religious Studies Department at Humboldt State University and was director of the campus Newman Center, which celebrates Mass and offers a gathering place for Catholic students, staff and community members. 
Freed lived in Japan for more than 20 years, and participated in Arcata's annual Lantern Ceremony held in memory of the victims of the U.S. bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. 
He also wrote the story of Hiroshima bombing survivor Hiroko Takanashi as an introduction to 11 haikus she wrote about her experience in the book titled “The Experience of the Atomic Bombing of Hiroshima in Poem.” During a 2009 interview with the Times-Standard, Freed said he translated the poems to English with the hope it would help others connect with the experiences of the survivors of the bombing. 

Update: A suspect has been caught.  The poor priest was bludgeoned to death. This is the suspect.  Gary Lee Bullock.  No motive is known yet.  See the Fox News update here.

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