Authorities in central California on Saturday arrested a man in connection with a series of murders that left six people dead.
The suspect, Wesley Brownlee, 43, was being followed by a police surveillance team around 2 a.m. Saturday on a “hunt” and “kill mission,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a news conference.
Brownlee was wearing dark clothing, had a mask around his neck and had a firearm when he was arrested, the police chief said.
“We are confident that we stopped another murder,” the police chief said.
Stockton police previously said they believe they are connected to five homicides in the city between July 8 and September 27. The five victims were alone and were shot in the afternoon or early morning, authorities said. Four of the victims were Hispanic men between the ages of 21 and 54, and the fifth was a 35-year-old white man.
And two predawn shootings in 2021 were also linked to the string of attacks, police said earlier this month: an April 10, 2021 fatal shooting of a 40-year-old Hispanic man in Oakland and an April 16, 2021, shooting in Stockton. A 46-year-old black woman survived.
What we know about the murders
Authorities announced last week that the reward for information leading to an arrest had been increased to $115,000. Tips from the community helped police catch the suspect, officials said at a news conference Saturday.
“To the community, thank you for everything you’ve done. Thank you for stepping up, thank you for practicing your voice, thank you for sending in hundreds of tips every day,” said Stockton Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln.
“This could not have been done, and today it would not have been possible without you,” added the mayor.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said deputy district attorneys are reviewing evidence “as we speak” and are working to determine what charges the office will file.
Salazar announced that the suspect will be tried on Tuesday evening. There will be another press conference afterward where officials will announce the charges, the district attorney added.