Authorities in California on Saturday arrested a man in connection with a series of killings that claimed the lives of six people.
The suspect, Wesley Brownlee, 43, was being followed by a police surveillance team who determined around 2 a.m. on Saturday he was “out hunting” and “on a mission to kill,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said in a news conference.
“His patterns were consistent with some of the patterns that we have seen,” McFadden said. “(He was) around parks, around dark places, stopping, looking around, moving again. And at that point, we thought, for the safety of the public, it was best to take this person in.”
Brownlee was wearing dark clothing, had a mask around his neck, and had a firearm when he was taken into custody, the police chief said.
“We are sure we stopped another killing,” the police chief said.
The suspect has a criminal history, McFadden said, but added he was unsure of the extent of what history or with which agencies.
The police chief did not share a motive in the killings.
Stockton police previously said they believe five homicides in the city between July 8 and September 27 were related. All five victims were alone and were shot either in the evening or early morning hours, authorities have said. Four of the victims were Hispanic men ranging from 21 to 54 years old and the fifth was a 35-year-old White man.
And two predawn shootings from 2021 were also tied to the string of attacks, police said earlier this month: a fatal April 10, 2021, shooting of a 40-year-old Hispanic man in Oakland and an April 16, 2021, shooting in Stockton of a 46-year-old Black woman who survived.
Authorities announced last week the reward for information leading to an arrest was raised to $115,000. Tips from the community helped police catch the suspect, officials said in Saturday’s news conference.
“To the community, thank you for everything that you’ve done. Thank you for stepping up, thank you for exercising your voice, thank you for submitting the hundreds of tips that have come in on a daily basis,” Stockton Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln said.
“This could not have been done, and today would not have been possible without you,” the mayor added.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said deputy district attorneys are currently reviewing evidence “as we speak” and are working to determine the charges the office will pursue.
Brownlee was being held in the county jail without bail, according to jail records from the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon, Salazar said. There will be another news conference afterward, where officials will announce the charges, the district attorney added.