Stockton, Calif., police arrest suspect in serial killings

Oct 15, 2022, 3:37 PM | Updated: Oct 16, 2022, 8:11 am

This booking photo provided by the Stockton Police Department shows Wesley Brownlee, from Stockton, Calif., who was arrested Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in connection to a series of shootings. Brownlee, suspected of killing six men and wounding a woman in Northern California was arrested before dawn Saturday as he was apparently searching for another victim, police said. (Stockton Police Department via AP)

(Stockton Police Department via AP)

STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — A man suspected of killing six men and wounding a woman in a series of shootings in Northern California was arrested before dawn Saturday as he drove through the streets of Stockton, armed with a handgun and possibly searching for another victim, police said.

Investigators began watching the suspect after receiving tips and stopped him in a car at about 2 a.m. in the Central Valley city, where five of the shootings took place, Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a news conference.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, of Stockton, was dressed in black, had a mask around his neck, had a gun and “was out hunting,” McFadden alleged.

“We are sure we stopped another killing,” he added.

It wasn’t immediately clear whether Brownlee had an attorney to speak on his behalf. He was expected to be arraigned Tuesday on murder charges.

A police photo showed the black-and-gray weapon allegedly carried by the suspect. It appeared to be a semi-automatic handgun containing some nonmetallic materials.

Police had been searching for a man clad in black who was caught on video at several of the crime scenes in Stockton, where five men were ambushed and shot to death between July 8 and Sept. 27. Four were walking, and one was in a parked car.

Police believe the same person was responsible for killing a man 70 miles away in Oakland in April 2021 and wounding a homeless woman in Stockton a week later.

Investigators have said ballistics tests and video evidence linked the crimes.

At the news conference, a moment of silence was held for the victims.

Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, was killed in Oakland on April 10, 2021, and Natasha LaTour, 46, was shot in Stockton on April 16 of that year but survived. The five men killed in Stockton this year were Paul Yaw, 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 Sept. 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, who died Sept. 27.

Police said Brownlee has a criminal history and is believed to have also lived in several cities near Stockton, but they did not give further details.

Authorities said they received hundreds of tips after announcing the manhunt, and investigators located and watched the place where Brownlee was living.

“Based on tips coming into the department and Stockton Crime Stoppers, we were able to zero in on a possible suspect,” McFadden said. “Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving. We watched his patterns and determined early this morning, he was on a mission to kill.”

McFadden added that Brownlee was detained after engaging in what appeared to be threatening behavior, including going to parks and dark places, stopping and looking around before driving on.

Investigators were trying to identify a motive for the attacks. Police said some victims were homeless, but not all. None were beaten or robbed, and the woman who survived said her attacker didn’t say anything.

The police chief thanked various local, state and federal agencies that took part in the investigation, including the FBI, U.S. Marshals and U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Local investigators had also worked with police in Chicago to determine whether the killings might be linked to two 2018 murders in that city’s Rogers Park neighborhood. Authorities said videos of suspects showed a man in black with a distinctive walk.

However, Chicago police said Friday that there didn’t appear to be any link.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

FILE - A worker rides a rail car at a BNSF rail crossing in Saginaw, Texas, Wednesday, Sept. 14, 20...
Associated Press

Rail workers say deal won’t resolve quality-of-life concerns

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — When BNSF railroad conductor Justin Schaaf needed to take time off from work this summer, he had to make a choice: go to the dentist to get a cavity in his molar filled or attend a party for his son’s 7th birthday. He chose his son. “Ultimately I decided to take […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Web designer Lorie Smith is shown in her office on Nov. 7, 2022, in the southwest part of Li...
Associated Press

Both sides see high stakes in gay rights Supreme Court case

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is being warned about the potentially dire consequences of a case next week involving a Christian graphic artist who objects to designing wedding websites for same-sex couples. Rule for the designer and the justices will expose not only same-sex couples but also Black people, immigrants, Jews, Muslims and others […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Today in History: December 3, gas disaster in Bhopal

Today in History Today is Saturday, Dec. 3, the 337th day of 2022. There are 28 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Dec. 3, 1984, thousands of people died after a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas escaped from a pesticide plant operated by a Union Carbide subsidiary in Bhopal, India. On […]
24 hours ago
FILE - John Duarte, a Republican candidate in California's 13th Congressional District, arrives at ...
Associated Press

GOP’s Duarte takes California Central Valley US House seat

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Republican John Duarte defeated Democrat Adam Gray on Friday in a new California U.S. House district in the Central Valley farm belt that produced the closest congressional contest in the state this year. With virtually all of the ballots counted, Duarte has just over 50% of the vote. Gray conceded in […]
24 hours ago
Associated Press

Family seeks answers after police kill man on his own porch

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — The family of an Austin, Texas, man is seeking answers after he was fatally shot by police last month on his front porch following a late-night emergency call by a neighbor. Video and audio released Thursday show Austin police officers arrived Nov. 15, yelled “drop your gun,” then fired at Rajan […]
24 hours ago
FILE - Flowers and candles are placed around crosses on May 28, 2022, at a memorial outside Robb El...
Associated Press

Uvalde shooting victims seek $27B, class action in lawsuit

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Victims of the Uvalde school shooting that left 21 people dead have filed a lawsuit against local and state police, the city and other school and law enforcement officials seeking $27 billion due to delays in confronting the attacker, court documents show. The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
...
Children’s Cancer Network

Children’s Cancer Network celebrates cancer-fighting superheroes, raises funds during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Jace Hyduchak was like most other kids in his kindergarten class: He loved to play basketball, dress up like his favorite superheroes and jump as high as his pint-sized body would take him on his backyard trampoline.
...
SCHWARTZ LASER EYE CENTER

Key dates for Arizona sports fans to look forward to this fall

Fall brings new beginnings in different ways for Arizona’s professional sports teams like the Cardinals and Coyotes.
Stockton, Calif., police arrest suspect in serial killings