Stockton police officers have identified and arrested a 43-year-old male – Wesley Brownlee – suspected of killing six men and attempting to kill a woman. Five of the murders have occurred within the past three months (since July), while the other incidents occurred in April of last year.
Wesley Brownlee was being watched by police officers sometime before dawn on Saturday morning. The officers noted his movements to be consistent with someone ‘on a mission to kill’ and determined he was ‘hunting’ for his next victim. They’re certain they stopped another killing.
“Based on tips coming into the department and Stockton Crime Stoppers, we were able to zero in on a possible suspect. … We watched his patterns and determined early this morning, he was on a mission to kill,” said Police Chief Stanley McFadden during a very tense press conference.
The suspect was wearing black clothing, a mask around his neck, and even had a handgun in his possession. It didn’t take long for authorities to link the weapon to the killings of five men, who were ambushed in the Central Valley city between July 8th and September 27th, 2022.
The five men who lost their lives were Paul Yaw, 35 (passed away July 8), Salvador Debudey Jr., 43 (passed away Aug. 11), Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21 (passed away Aug. 30), Juan Cruz, 52 (passed away Sept. 21), and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54 (passed away Sept. 27).
Ballistics tests also linked Wesley Brownlee to the death of another male in the Oakland area – roughly 70 miles from the Stockton killings – and allegedly injured a homeless woman six days later in Stockton. Both of those incidents occurred in April of 2021, but were unsolved until now.
“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,” said Kevin Lincoln, Mayor of Stockton.
Charges Have Yet to be Filed Against Wesley Brownlee
While it’s not clear if Wesley Brownlee has an attorney, he is expected to appear in court for the first time on Tuesday and will likely face several murder charges – among other charges. Public records show that he does have a criminal history, including a DUI, drug, and traffic violations.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar is currently preparing the charges, but had some uplifting words for the Stockton community. “The crime was solved because we’re Stocktonians. You don’t come to our house and bring this reign of terror,” said Salazar.
One resident in the area ended up moving after a creepy encounter with the alleged man. “I turned around, with my back towards my door, and I look to my left, and I just see him standing right there. And he had his gun in his hand,” the resident explained in an interview with KCRA.
Another resident showed concern for his family. “I have to pay attention to that, and warn my family [to] be careful when walking out at night,” said Kim Camp. Other residents recounted instances where they believe they saw him. Now, the community can finally breathe.
“When we face a challenge or threat to the safety of Californians, we stand stronger when we stand together. Because of our collaborative work, the citizens of Stockton and California communities can feel comfort in knowing that this suspect is now in custody,” said Attorney General RobBonta.
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