Monterey County

Salinas tries prayer for peace to clean up violence

Prayers for Peace in Salinas

SALINAS, Calif. - Pastors from Salinas are preparing one common message for the city.

"It's not a South Salinas, it's not a North Salinas , it isn't even an East Salinas," said a local pastor. "It's Salinas."

The pastors said once the city is on the same page, peace will follow.

"If you have this many pastors here tomorrow and on Sunday, thousands will hear this message," said Mayor Joe Gunter.

Gunter and other city leaders were in attendance at a church on North Sanborn Road, several blocks away from the chaos of Wednesday night that left one person dead and a police officer in the hospital.

Wednesday's melee started as a peaceful protest in response to an officer-involved shooting Tuesday but quickly grew out of control.

Gunter, a former police officer, said the officer who was struck with the bottle Wednesday night is just as much a part of the Salinas community as anyone else.

"That young man was born and raised here. I did his background (check), he's Hispanic and he wants to be with the people and work with them," Gunter said.

Friday's prayer service followed a protest for peace Thursday evening organized by children in Salinas. Gunter said that although the turnout wasn't as strong as Friday's church gathering, the city is moving in the right direction.

"They will use this is as a kick-off point to get the community to work together. I think that's really what this is all about," he said.

There will be a march for peace Sunday, also related to the violence of the past week.

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