Beloved pastor and father of 6 fatally stabbed in the neck by parishioner he was praying for
In a tragedy of unspeakable proportion, a pastor and a father of six from Salinas, California was brutally killed by a man he was praying for.
Pastor Herbert Valero, 68, of Victory Outreach Church in Salinas, California was fatally stabbed in the neck just outside his home by the lone suspect, Servando Ayala Silva, 37, a member of his flock, on Tuesday night, KSBW reported.
Salinas Police Department Sgt. Christopher Lane said after the stabbing, Valero was still able to run inside his house, clutching his bleeding neck, telling his family that Silva had attacked him before he collapsed and died.
Police quickly arrested Silva on charges of first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon (a small drywall saw), and probation violation. He is now detained at the Monterey County Jail.
Lane said the police are still investigating what pushed Silva to kill Valero whom he visited at his home that night to seek his prayer.
Valero had distinguished himself as a dedicated pastor who's always willing to help anyone, particularly young people battling drug addictions and living in the streets.
"Pastor Herb was a servant of the community, he dedicated his life to God," said his close friend, Salinas City Council member Tony Barrera.
"He was determined to make somebody's life a little bit better. He was able to minister broken men and women. He would go into the prisons, Chinatown, he would go everywhere," Barrera added.
Barrera said Valero had opened his house to anyone who needed his help, like what his accused killer did on Tuesday night.
A parishioner told KSBW that anybody could visit the pastor's house and ask for something as small as a glass of water.
Valero's church is 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," according to The Christian Post.
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.
Members of Valero's congregation expressed their profound grief at the church's Facebook page.
One parishioner wrote: "We will miss you Pastor Herb. You were a true example of a Godly man, loving husband and caring father. Your legacy lives on all over the world; we will continue to fight the good fight vigorously with passion!"
Another said: "Pastor Herb, please know that your legacy of love and evangelism is rooted deep into the lives of thousands, my son's being one of them. He was called to Heaven on Mother's Day 2006 ... My gratitude to you, Pastor Herb, is endless. It was through your love and fatherly ways that my son surrendered his life and soul to God ... because YOU took your time and invested some of it into my son, he made it into Thee Kingdom of Heaven!"