LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The Roman Catholic priest killed in his Northern California church rectory during a violent New Year’s Eve struggle had many ties to the Southland.

Rev. Eric Freed has a brother and four sisters, and four of the five live in the Los Angeles area.

Freed was originally from Covina. He graduated from Loyola Marymount in 1979.

Serene Branson spoke to Freed’s father via phone. His parents now live in Nevada.

Police on Thursday announced an arrest in the case.

Gary Lee Bullock has been in and out of police custody and Branson said he was released from prison on a public intoxication charge hours before the murder.

Freed suffered blunt force trauma, according to authorities. The motive of the murder is unclear.

“Those of us that believe in prayer this is the time for that,” said Mayor Frank Jager of Eureka. “This is a tremendous loss.”


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