Neighbors and friends have identified the 79-year-old who was found stabbed to death in an Apple Valley apartment over the weekend as a reverend at a local church.
Willie Hunter was discovered dead in the 12700 block of Kiowa Road around 3:45 p.m. Saturday, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.
“A lady came up, said it’s her reverend in there, in the house, from her church," said neighbor Brendon Michener.
A family friend found the body during a welfare check, according to Alexander Brandon, who was a friend of the victim.
Hunter had been stabbed multiple times, allegedly by a 16-year-old, a sheriff's news release stated.
Hunter and the suspect -- whose name has not yet been released -- knew each other. They were involved in an altercation before the fatal stabbing took place, according to the Sheriff's Department.
The teen fled the scene in the victim's vehicle, but investigators caught up with her the following day, the release stated. She was interviewed and then booked into juvenile hall on suspicion of murder.
The homicide has left residents stunned and shaken.
"It’s kind of scary in our neighborhood, because this neighborhood’s usually quiet," said Michener.
The victim was being remembered as a "stand-up man, a real man of God," according to Brandon. He said he knew Hunter through his parents, who were members of the reverend's church.
Brandon described Hunter -- or "Mr. Willie," as he called him -- as a church elder.
"[He] was always nice to everybody. Give you the shirt off his back. Give you the food on his plate," he said. "Someone you could always go to, someone you could just ask a question, and he’ll give you the guidance of God from there, just lead you on the right path."
Rev. Willie Hunter worked as an associate minister at the United in Christ Baptist Church of Apple Valley, according to the website. The church released a photo of him on Monday.
No additional details have been released about the case. Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Justin Giles at 909-387-3589.
Anonymous tips can also be left by calling the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-782-7463, or by going to the website www.wetip.com.