Stockton shootings: Arrest of suspect in deadly California shooting ‘stops another killing spree’, police say


With the city of Stockton, California reeling from a series of overnight shootings by an unknown assailant, police officials believe the arrest of a suspect this weekend prevented another killing.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, of Stockton, was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday, wearing dark clothing with a mask around his neck and armed with a firearm, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a news conference.

“He was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting,” McFadden said. “We’re confident we stopped another murder,” he added.

Using tips from the public, a surveillance team was following Brownlee as he drove through parks and dark places, “stopping, looking around and moving again,” McFadden said. The team spotted his patterns and arrested him “after identifying him as a threat,” the chief said.

Brownlee is suspected of killing six men and wounding a woman in the shooting spree, the first of which dates back to April 2021 and was reported late last month, officials said.

All the victims were alone when they were attacked in the evening or early morning, police said.

While searching for the letterer, police earlier this month released surveillance video of a man they said was a person of interest. The principal stated then that the person’s attitude “is very upright and it is obvious”.

The reward for information leading to an arrest was increased to $125,000 this week.

Hundreds of tips were issued to citizens, according to Stockton Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln.

“This crime was solved because we are Stocktonians. Because you don’t come to our house and bring this kind of reign of terror and you don’t mobilize 350,000 people – 780,000, the entire county – mobilized, mobilized and captured this individual who is no longer the reign of terror,” San Joaquin County District. Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said.

The chief said the suspect “has a criminal record,” but did not provide further details.

He was in the Brownlee County Jail without bond Saturday, according to jail records. The trial will be held on Tuesday afternoon, Salazar announced.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, was arrested early Saturday morning.

Ballistic evidence linked the cases, and McFadden raised the alarm about a “potential serial killer” earlier this month.

The authorities are still investigating the cause of the shooting, and the police explained that it was “motivated by the mission”. Nothing was taken in the attacks, and the victims were both the homeless and the homeless, according to the chief.

The average age of the victims was 42, and they were mostly male and mostly Hispanic, McFadden said last week.

The first of the seven shootings is believed to have happened in the early hours of April 10, 2021, in Oakland, more than 70 miles from Stockton. Police say a 40-year-old Hispanic man died.

The next shooting occurred on April 16, 2021, when a 46-year-old black woman was shot in Stockton and survived her injuries. He is the only surviving victim.

In an interview with police, the woman said she heard someone walking by her campsite and came out to find the attacker with a gun. The man fired multiple shots, wounding her, as he tried to defend himself, McFadden said at a news conference last week.

Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden spoke at a news conference Saturday about the arrest of suspect Wesley Brownlee in a fatal shooting in Stockton, California.

She told police her attacker didn’t say anything and was wearing dark clothing and a dark Covid-style mask, according to the chief.

The other shootings happened between July and September this year, officials said. Among those killed this year were four Hispanic men between the ages of 21 and 54, and the fifth was a 35-year-old white man, police said.

This year’s homicide victims were identified by the San Joaquin County medical examiner as follows: Paul Yaw, 35, killed July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, was killed on August 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, was killed on August 30; Juan Cruz, 52, was killed on September 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, was killed on September 27.

Seven of the shootings happened in dark areas where there weren’t many cameras. The victims “were alone, often caught unawares, or perhaps relaxing in a vehicle or walking alone in near darkness,” McFadden told CNN’s Kasie Hunt earlier this month.