Suspect arrested in connection with Stockton serial killings that left 6 dead
By Dominic Williams | Sacramento Bee
Police and city officials announced an arrest Saturday in connection with a string of murders that have captured the California city and national headlines.
Six people have been shot in the deadly spree — five in Stockton and one in Oakland — that will continue through 2021. All are tied, police said earlier this month, to a single gun.
The arrested man, identified as 43-year-old Wesley Brownlee, is a resident of the city. He was arrested around 2 a.m., authorities said at a news conference at Stockton police headquarters Saturday afternoon.
“This remains a very active investigation,” Police Chief Stanley McFadden said.
“We’re sure we’ve stopped another murder,” he added as he spoke about the arrest after a night of surveillance by officers.
Police remain unclear as to why the victims were targeted. No one was robbed or beaten, and the five murders in Stockton happened within a few square miles of each other.
In some of the crimes, the suspect is described as 5-foot-10 to 6-foot tall, wearing dark clothing and a black hat, and was seen walking with an even stride and an upright posture.
The first fatal shooting was in Oakland in April 2021. The woman was wounded in Stockton days later. More than a year has passed since the five killings in Stockton occurred between July 8 and Sept. 27, all within a radius of several square miles, police said.
There was a $125,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, but it’s unclear if anyone will pick it up.
The first killing targeted Juan Vazquez Serrano, 39, in Oakland around 4:15 a.m. on April 10, 2021. He was shot multiple times, according to the Alameda County Coroner’s Office. It is not clear if he was alone when he was killed.
In the non-fatal attack, the 46-year-old woman told investigators she was in her tent on April 16, 2021, around 3:20 a.m. when she heard someone walking outside.
The San Joaquin County Medical Examiner’s Office identified the Stockton victims as Paul Yau, 35, who died July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, who died Aug. 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, who died Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, 52, who died on September 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, who died Sept. 27.
A ballistics investigation reveals the 448-day gap between the second and third victims and the rapidly closing gaps between victims thereafter: 34 days, then 19, then just six days as the death toll continues to rise.
Police said four of the Stockton homicide victims were walking alone and a fifth was in a parked car when they were killed in the evening or early morning.
Darrell Smith and Daniel Hunt of The Bee and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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