SAN FERNANDO, Calif. — A pastor in California has been hospitalized with a broken hip and a laceration to his head after being attacked Wednesday night by a former member.
According to reports, Rudy Trujillo, the pastor of Faith Center in San Fernando, was exiting his vehicle Wednesday when a man who had left the church several years ago came up from behind him, striking him in the head and kicking him as he fell to the ground.
Trujillo had been working on a community event entitled “Stop the Violence,” which was scheduled for later this month. He is active in reaching those caught up in gangs and drug addictions, and works with Los Angeles Mayor Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Gang Reduction and Youth Development program.
Trujillo’s son, Joshua, told reporters that the event will go on as planned, and that his father’s beating demonstrates how the outreach is sorely needed. The pastor required full hip replacement surgery following the attack.
“As Christians, we are committed to the teachings of Jesus. Jesus teaches us to love even those who hate us and violently attack us. He taught us to forgive those who wrong us,” Joshua Trujillo posted to social media on Thursday.
“This does not mean we condone or tolerate hatred and violence. Not at all! But precisely because we condemn hatred and violence as evil, we refuse to hate those who hate us, nor retaliate with violence against those who violently attack us,” he said. “As people who have received mercy from God, we extend mercy to others—even those who have hurt us. And we entrust justice into the hands of God.”
Police have identified the attacker, but have not yet released his name.
“We really don’t know what the motive is. We just know that he was known to Pastor Rudy,” San Fernando Police Sgt. Irwin Rosenberg told local television station KTLA.
San Fernando Mayor Robert Gonzales praised Trujillo as being “a strength in our community.”
“I can’t even name how many people he’s been able to help over the last few years,” he said. “It’s extremely important to me that we’re able to apprehend the individual who did this, because it will bring closure to so many of our residents and beyond our residents and the city of San Fernando.”
The attack is the second of its kind in recent weeks. As previously reported, Herbert Valero, 68, of Victory Outreach Church in Salinas was stabbed to death earlier this month as he stepped outside of his home to pray with a member.
Valero likewise had been working to reach gang members and drug addicts.
“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.”