Police say they have finally nabbed a suspected serial killer responsible for a string of killings that have plagued Stockton and Oakland—and cops stopped him just as he was about to claim another victim.
“Early this morning he was on a mission to kill, he was out hunting” when he was stopped around 2:22 a.m., Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a Saturday press conference.
“He was wearing dark clothing and had a mask around his neck. He was also armed with a firearm when he was taken into custody. We are sure we stopped another killing,” McFadden said, identifying the alleged killer as 43-year-old Wesley Brownlee.
Brownlee is now in custody and set to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
McFadden said the breakthrough in the case came thanks to both “community tips” and “good old fashioned police work.” The arrest came about a year and a half after the first killing in April 21 shook the community, and less than a month after the most recent shooting.
Authorities linked six gun murders in the California cities to a single killer in early 2021. Another victim survived being shot in what authorities on Saturday described as a “reign of terror.”
The killings are believed to have begun in East Oakland when 39-year-old Miguel Vasquez Serrano was shot dead. Most recently, investigators have linked the Sept. 27 murder of Lorenzo Lopez Sr. to the serial killer. Five of the killer’s seven victims have been Hispanic, but police haven’t revealed if they believe they were targeted.
“We don’t know what the motive is. What we do believe is that it’s mission-oriented,” Stockton police chief Stanley McFadden said Oct. 4. “This person’s on a mission.”
Ballistic evidence has linked the murders to each other. And just last week, police released footage of a person of interest they believed could be the killer.
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln on Saturday said members of the community can now “rest a little bit easier tonight.”
“I want to make this very very clear, to the people of Stockton, to the United States and around the world. When the people of Stockton come together and we unite we can get things done. Stockton will be a place where people can live, raise a family and grow a business,” Lincoln said.