California pastor stabbed to death by parishioner, police say

Servando Ayala Silva.

Servando Ayala Silva.  (Monterey County Sheriff's Office)

A 68-year-old California pastor was stabbed in the neck and killed Tuesday night by a parishioner whom the pastor visited so they could pray together, police said.

The pastor, Herbert Valero, was able to identify the murderer to his family before he died, The Mercury News reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene despite the efforts of emergency responders.

But while Valero was allegedly able to tell his family 37-year-old Servando Ayala Silva stabbed him, the motive for the attack was still unknown.


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

Silva left the scene, but officers later tracked him down at a family member’s house. He was arrested and booked into the Monterey County Jail on suspicion of homicide.

Valero’s stabbing is the 10th homicide in Salinas in 2017, The Mercury News reported.

A vigil was held Wednesday at Victory Outreach Church, where Valero preached.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.