A beloved California pastor and father of six with a heart for “outcast and marginalized people” was fatally stabbed in the neck with a drywall saw by a member of his flock Tuesday night as he offered prayers for his alleged killer.
Salinas Police Department Sgt. Christopher Lane told KSBW 8 that Pastor Herbert Valero, 68, of Victory Outreach Church in Salinas was fatally stabbed by parishioner Servando Ayala Silva, 37, outside the preacher’s home on the 1500 block of Verona Court shortly before 8 p.m.
“Pastor Herb met one of his parishioners, 37-year-old Servando Ayala Silva, outside of (his house). Pastor Herb told his family he was going to be outside praying with Silva. A few minutes later, Pastor Herb ran into the house holding his neck. He stated Silva had stabbed him,” Lane said.
It is unclear what the motive was for the stabbing but family members called 911 as Silva fled in a white pickup truck. The preacher died at the scene.
Silva’s family called 911 at about 9:45 p.m. Tuesday to report that he had returned home after the stabbing. He was taken into custody and booked into the Monterey County Jail on charges of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon, and probation violation. His bail was set at $1 million.
Valero’s church was a part of the Victory Outreach International movement which is “a unique ministry that reaches people in the inner cities of the world; touching lives from all walks of life.”
In a statement on his church’s website, Valero explained that he started Victory Outreach Church in 1989 to empower people to change their lives with God’s help.
“Since 1989 I have had a single-minded purpose with a clear mission: to empower individuals to take control of their lives by placing their future in the hands of God. I have seen multitudes exchange a hopeless subsistence for a new resolve and confidence in life with a determination to help others,” he said.
“God sent me here to Salinas to establish Victory Outreach Salinas Church as a place where outcast and marginalized people can feel welcome. We are a global family with members in every populated continent on Earth,” he added.
Victory Outreach International said in a statement that Valero was a regional leader who was very committed to their cause.
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SOURCE: The Christian Post, Leonardo Blair