California Pastor Murdered While Meeting With Member for Prayer

SALINAS, Calif. — A pastor in California who was known for working with the addicted and those involved in street life was stabbed to death on Tuesday evening after going outside to counsel with and pray for one of his members.

Herbert Valero, 68, of Victory Outreach Church in Salinas thought he was just stepping out of the house to pray with Servando Silva, 37, but was suddenly stabbed in the neck with a drywall saw. He had told members that they could come to his house anytime they needed help.

“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,” Salinas Police Department Sgt. Christopher Lane told KSBW-TV.

His family immediately called 911 and Silva fled the scene. Emergency responders performed CPR, but were unable to revive Valero, and he was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police contacted Silva’s family and instructed them to advise when he returned home. Later that night, as patrol units were out looking for Silva, one of his relatives called 911 to notify officials that he had arrived. Silva was taken into custody and charged with first-degree murder, assault with a deadly weapon and violating his probation.

He had previously been convicted of assaulting an elderly person with a deadly weapon and was on probation. Silva is being held on $1 million dollars bail.

Police do not know the motivation for the crime, but state that it is not believed to be gang-related.

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“That’s one of the things we’re not sure if truly we’re ever going to be able to answer,” Cmdr. Stanley Cooper told the Mercury News, referring to pinpointing a motive. “At the time of the stabbing, it was only the two of them that were out in front of the pastor’s house.”

A vigil was held on Wednesday at Victory Outreach Church, and many lamented the pastor’s death as he had been known by many as a selfless man who dedicated his life to helping others.

“It’s a big loss for the community because he has touched so many lives. It’s just going to be hard, especially hard on the family and the church family,” Second Chance Youth Program Executive Director Brian Contreras told the Californian. “His church helps a lot of the people who we work with, like drug addicts or former gang members … people that other churches didn’t want to touch.”

City Council member Tony Barrera made similar remarks.

“Pastor Herb was a servant of the community. He dedicated his life to God. 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,” he told KSBW.

“The world I came from before I got saved was gangs, drugs and just a lot of darkness. When I came into contact with Pastor Herb for the first time, through his testimony, it just showed me that I do have a second chance at life,” Juan Gonzalez, a former prisoner who met Valero while staying at a men’s home he operated, also shared with reporters.

A memorial service is expected to be held next week at the church.


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  • michael louwe

    MATTHEW.7: = 6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine,
    lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.”
    .
    .
    Jesus Christ preached only to His fellow Jews who had followed Moses Law for about 1,500 years = a civilized and repentant people. He did not preach to the Samaritans or pseudo-Jews and the mostly lawless Gentiles.

    ……. Only the Jews’ greed/desire for the return of their own kingdom of earth, ie Judah/Israel, caused them to reject Jesus as the Christ/Messiah(JOHN.6:15) and His free gift/grace of the kingdom of heaven(MATT.4:17).

    • Grace Kim Kwon

      The Gospel is for all. “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him(Jesus), saying, ‘Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ And He said to them, ‘It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1)

      • michael louwe

        MATT.10: = Persecutions Are Coming

        16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves. 17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. 18 You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.

        19 But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should
        speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; 20 for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
        _ _ _ _ _ _ _

        If preaching to their fellow Jews invited such violent reactions, what more when Gentile Christians preach to their fellow Gentiles.?
        ……. IOW, Christians should discriminate among the unbelievers, ie see who are the receptive ones. Usually, they are good and law-abiding unbelievers, and not gangsters, drug addicts, criminals, etc. Were you.?

        • Lafe Tolliver

          Sir: No such thing as a good unbeliever. Jesus said go out to all of the world and preach the gospel. He did not give any footnotes as to who not to preach the gospel to! Your biblical ignorance is appalling!

    • Lafe Tolliver

      Sir: You are an Bible idiot. The woman at the well was a Samaritan woman and Jesus
      preached to her and the members of her village. Next time, know the Word before you make a fool of yourself.

    • Lafe Tolliver

      Sir: That verse is out of context. It does not apply to spreading the gospel. If that were the case and as stated in the Book of Romans, the list of people that Paul refers to….those would be your undesirables that you would not preach to. You need to stop posting such
      ignorance and learn how to read the Bible instead of your own ignorance.

  • Grace Kim Kwon

    God rest His faithful servant. California is a mission field and needs Christian missionaries.

  • Chet

    Very sad story, horrible treatment to a gentleman who loved the Lord and cared enough for the eternal souls and lives of those hurting and steeped in sin’s despair and grip. As Hell awaits the unredeemed, the Devil, meanwhile, continues to walk about seeking whom he may devour… What a wonderful testimony regarding this precious brother in Christ who is now in perfect peace at home with his Master and Saviour, Jesus Christ… May God comfort his family and raise up someone there to carry on this much needed work…