Home News California Pastor Paid $40,000 to Have Daughter’s Boyfriend Shot, Police Say

California Pastor Paid $40,000 to Have Daughter’s Boyfriend Shot, Police Say

California Pastor Paid $40,000 to Have Daughter’s Boyfriend Shot, Police Say


A California pastor is accused of paying almost $40,000 for hit men to shoot his daughter’s boyfriend in an attack that wounded but did not kill him, the authorities said.

The pastor, Samuel Pasillas, 47, of Victorville, Calif., was one of two men arrested in connection with the murder-for-hire investigation that began last year after the attempt in Riverside, Calif., the police said.

Mr. Pasillas was arrested on March 13 and charged with solicitation for murder, conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon, the Riverside Police Department said in a statement on Tuesday.

Juan Manuel Cebreros, 55, of Long Beach, Calif., was also arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder and assault with a deadly weapon. Though the police spoke of men being hired for the shooting, they did not immediately identify any other suspect.

A lawyer listed for Mr. Pasillas could not be reached on Wednesday. It was not clear if Mr. Cebreros had a lawyer.

The investigation stemmed from a shooting on Oct. 21, when a man drove himself to a hospital with gunshot wounds and reported that he had been attacked while driving at about 7 p.m. in the Orangecrest neighborhood of Riverside, a city that is about 55 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

The man who was shot, who was not identified by the authorities, said another vehicle pulled up alongside him as he approached Plainview Street.

Then, the shooting started.

“Gunfire came from this other vehicle and he was struck several times,” the police said in their statement.

Officers later found evidence of the shooting at that street’s intersection with Grove Community Drive. They had not said what weapons were used in the attack.

Robbery-homicide detectives conducted a follow-up investigation and were assisted by the problem-oriented policing team and crime analysis unit of the Riverside Police Department.

Detectives learned that the attack had been “a murder-for-hire shooting,” the police said. The man who was targeted “had been dating a woman whose father is a pastor for a Spanish-speaking church in the city of Victorville,” which is about 40 miles north of Riverside in San Bernardino County.

In its statement, which identified Mr. Pasillas as the pastor, the police did not name his church. The Los Angeles Times identified the church as the Centro Internacional de Oración.

Rafael Porras, who answered a telephone number listed for the church and identified himself at a senior pastor, said he had no comment on the arrest or the investigation, but he said that Mr. Pasillas had been a volunteer at the church for 10 years and not part of his staff.

Detectives found evidence that Mr. Pasillas had met with men he had hired and provided them with information about the victim, including where he would be on the evening of the shooting, the police said.

It was not immediately clear from their statement what evidence the police had connecting Mr. Pasillas and the men involved in the shooting. The Riverside Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wednesday.

The department said that Mr. Pasillas paid almost $40,000 and that he had conducted surveillance on the victim in the weeks leading up to the shooting.

Detectives served search warrants at homes in Victorville, Long Beach and Lynwood, all in California, on March 13, when the arrests were made.

Mr. Pasillas and Mr. Cebreros were each held on $1 million bonds at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, the police said. The two men have court appearances scheduled for March 26 at the Riverside Hall of Justice, according to inmate records.

Alain Delaquérière contributed research.


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