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Parishioner arrested after Salinas pastor is fatally stabbed in the neck

A Salinas pastor was fatally stabbed in the neck at his home Tuesday night after going outside to pray with a parishioner, authorities said.

Herbert Valero, the 68-year-old pastor of Victory Outreach Church, told his family he was going outside to pray with Servando Ayala Silva, a 37-year-old man who attended his church, the Salinas Police Department said in a statement.

A few minutes later, Valero ran back inside, holding his neck and said Silva had stabbed him, police said. As family members called for help, Silva fled in his truck, authorities said.

Salinas police officers arrived just before 8 p.m. at the house in the 1500 block of Verona Court. Valero was pronounced dead at the scene.

At 9:45 p.m., police received a call from one of Silva’s family members, saying he was at the relative’s front door, authorities said. Officers arrived and took him into custody without incident, according to Salinas police.

Silva was taken to the Monterey County Jail, where he is being held in lieu of $1 million bail, according to sheriff’s inmate records.

The stabbing was the 10th homicide in Salinas in 2017, police said.

Valero, a father of six who was known as “Pastor Herb,” founded the Victory Outreach Church in Salinas 27 years ago, David Dell Castro, a Victory Outreach pastor in Riverside, said in a statement on Facebook. Valero oversaw multiple churches around Monterey County and “traveled internationally with the same message of hope to reach the lives of people who were affected by drug addiction and gang violence,” Castro said.

On his church’s website, Valero wrote that God “sent me here to Salinas to establish Victory Outreach Salinas Church as a place where outcast and marginalized people can feel welcome.”

hailey.branson@latimes.com

Twitter: @haileybranson

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