Who is suspected Stockton serial killer Wesley Brownlee?



Weeks after Stockton police said that five recent shooting deaths in the city were connected in what authorities called a “series of killings,” officials made the announcement that 43-year-old Wesley Brownlee had been arrested in connection with the deaths. He appeared in court Tuesday, Oct. 18, after being charged in three of the killings. Brownlee is also connected to a deadly shooting in Oakland and an attempted homicide of a woman in Stockton. Officials said more charges are likely. | MORE | 2 more shootings linked in Stockton serial killings; woman survived 2021 attackStockton’s police chief said a surveillance team had followed Brownlee while he was driving and “determined he was on a mission to kill.”Here’s everything we know — and don’t know — so far about the shootings and Brownlee’s arrest:How was Wesley Brownlee arrested?Brownlee was arrested around 2 a.m. on Oct. 15, “while out hunting” in Stockton, police Chief Stanley McFadden said.The police chief said the arrest was made possible thanks to community tips and the work of his department.”Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving. We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting,” McFadden said.He was caught driving on Winslow Way and Village Green Drive. He was wearing dark clothing with a mask around his neck and was armed with a firearm in his waistband, police confirmed to KCRA 3. McFadden later told KCRA 3 that Brownlee was driving a teal or green-colored van when officers performed a traffic stop because there was someone alone at Panella Park in danger of becoming the next victim.”Throughout the surveillance, he was lurking around parks. He was lurking around in dark areas, just different areas that might have proved to be an area for him to kill. Once we knew he encountered an area where there was someone that was vulnerable and alone and in a dark place, that’s when we acted,” McFadden said.Police confirmed to KCRA 3 they believe he is the person of interest captured in the video that they released on Oct. 4.”What it was was his walk. I’ll be honest with you: the stride. That’s what people were keying in on,” McFadden said when asked what kind of information from the public helped identify Brownlee.Police said they are testing the gun that Brownlee had to see if it’s linked to all seven shootings | VIDEO BELOW | Neighbors describe possible encounters with Stockton serial killings suspectWhat was Wesley Brownlee charged with? Brownlee is being charged with the murders of Jonathan Rodriguez Hernandez, Juan Cruz and Lawrence Lopez, previously identified as Lorenzo Lopez.Hernandez Rodriguez was killed Aug. 30, Cruz was killed Sept. 21 and Lopez was killed Sept. 27.Two other charges include being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as possession of ammunition.Prosecutors said that Brownlee used a ghost gun for the three murders.Why wasn’t Wesley Brownlee charged in the deaths of the three others?Stockton police previously said they believed two other murders, that of 35-year-old Paul Alexander Yaw and 43-year-old Salvador William Debudey Jr., were also connected to the serial killings, but Brownlee currently is not charged with their deaths.Authorities also believe a deadly shooting in Oakland and an attempted homicide of a Stockton woman are also connected to the serial killings.The District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the three other murders.”We charged the cases today because we believe we have sufficient evidence to pursue these charges and prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. We are also confident that additional charges will be added,” said District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar in a news conference after Brownlee appeared in court.Does Wesley Brownlee have a criminal record? Brownlee is a truck driver who recently moved from the Oakland area to Stockton where he has some relatives, Verber-Salazar said. According to public records, Brownlee has a criminal history in California and Arizona connected to past drug violations, traffic violations, and a DUI.In 1997, he was arrested in Alameda County for having “cocaine base,” or crack. Officers believed he was going to sell it. He served two years in state prison for it.Brownlee was again arrested and convicted in 2001 in Alameda County for the same crime and served three years in prison this time. He was released to parole again in May 2003 and discharged from parole in May 2006, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.In 2009, Brownlee was arrested in San Joaquin County on DUI charges, according to public records, which also show two traffic violations in 2021 and 2022.Brownlee pleaded “no contest” in 2014 in Alameda County after he was charged again for possessing cocaine. He served 16 days in jail and five years probation, which he served in San Joaquin County.He was also cited in 2019 for failing to stop at the port of entry in Arizona.Who was killed? Six men were killed — five in Stockton this year and one in Oakland last year. The victims were identified by police as:35-year-old Paul Alexander Yaw43-year-old Salvador William Debudey Jr.21-year-old Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez52-year-old Juan Cruz52-year-old Lorenzo Lopez The victim in Oakland was a 40-year-old Hispanic man. Affiliate KTVU reported that the coroner identified the man as Juan Miguel Vasquez Serrano.The San Francisco Chronicle, our Hearst affiliate, reported that Serrano was an unhoused individual known and well-liked in the Seminary neighborhood of East Oakland as a car mechanic-for-hire. People would occasionally let him sleep in the cars he was fixing.| MORE | What we’re learning about victims of the Stockton serial killingsWhy do authorities think the seven shootings are connected?Stockton police have confirmed that ballistics tests have linked the shootings to one another, but police are not saying if all shootings are linked to the same gun. Who was wounded? A 46-year-old Black woman is the only known survivor of the shootings. Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said the woman biked to an encampment at Park and Union streets in Stockton where she was shot on April 16, 2021, at around 3:30 a.m. The woman was by a tent when she saw a man, dressed in all dark clothing, wearing a dark face mask and a dark jacket. She said the man was anywhere between 5 foot 10 inches to 6 foot 2 inches.The woman told police that no words were exchanged between them and that she tried defending herself by advancing toward him. She was hit multiple times by gunfire. Where did the shootings happen? Most of the deadly shootings happened in Stockton within a four-mile radius of one another. The shooting where the woman survived happened to the south of the five deadly shootings. Here’s a map with more information: When did the shootings happen? The five deadly Stockton shootings that happened this year ranged from July 8 to Sept. 27. The shooting in Stockton where the woman survived happened on April 16, 2021. The Oakland deadly shooting happened on April 10, 2021. McFadden noted an inconsistent span of time between each attack. The time spent between the first attack on April 10, 2021, and the next one was six days. The time spent between that second attack and the third was 448 days.From the third attack to the fourth attack, 34 days passed, McFadden said. From the fifth attack to the sixth attack, 22 days passed. And from the sixth attack to the last known attack on Sept. 27 was six days.Was anyone being targeted?It’s unclear exactly why the victims were targeted, but it’s notable that five victims out of the seven shootings were Hispanic men and four of the victims were experiencing homelessness. Stockton police don’t believe that there is any indication that these are hate crimes.Did the shootings have anything in common? McFadden said in a press conference that the shootings tend to have a pattern: They happen when it’s dark, late at night, and when people are by themselves in badly lit areas. The victims also appear to have been caught by surprise, he said. How many people are believed to be involved in the killings?Police said that Brownlee is the only suspect in the case “at this time.”They had previously said they weren’t sure whether one person or more than one person had been involved. Are the serial killings connected to two 2018 murders in Chicago?Short answer: probably not.Joe Silva, a spokesperson for the Stockton Police Department, at one point said officers were working with the Chicago Police Department to see if two 2018 Chicago murders are linked to the serial killings in Stockton and Oakland. The connection? The similarity in the suspect’s manner of walking in the surveillance videos in both cities.But a day later, Stockton police said that investigators do not believe there is any connection between the killings in both cities. In Chicago, two deadly shootings happened just 36 hours apart in the West Rogers neighborhood, according to the Chicago Tribune. Investigators released surveillance video of a suspect in those homicides. The person in this video — from the Sept. 30, 2018 murder — much like the person of interest in Stockton, had an uneven stride and walked with their hands in their pockets, and was called the “Duck Walk Killer.” Read more here. What else do we still not know? What was exact the tip, or piece of information, that led police to Brownlee?When did surveillance begin on Brownlee – was this overnight surveillance and arrest the first time he was followed by detectives? What was the suspect’s motive? This is a developing story, stay with KCRA 3 as we learn more about the suspect arrested and the series of killings. Here is where you can download our app for the latest.

Weeks after Stockton police said that five recent shooting deaths in the city were connected in what authorities called a “series of killings,” officials made the announcement that 43-year-old Wesley Brownlee had been arrested in connection with the deaths. He appeared in court Tuesday, Oct. 18, after being charged in three of the killings.

Brownlee is also connected to a deadly shooting in Oakland and an attempted homicide of a woman in Stockton. Officials said more charges are likely.

| MORE | 2 more shootings linked in Stockton serial killings; woman survived 2021 attack

Stockton’s police chief said a surveillance team had followed Brownlee while he was driving and “determined he was on a mission to kill.”

Here’s everything we know — and don’t know — so far about the shootings and Brownlee’s arrest:

How was Wesley Brownlee arrested?

Brownlee was arrested around 2 a.m. on Oct. 15, “while out hunting” in Stockton, police Chief Stanley McFadden said.

The police chief said the arrest was made possible thanks to community tips and the work of his department.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, Stockton serial killings suspect

Stockton Police Department

“Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving. We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting,” McFadden said.

The location where the suspected killer was arrested.

He was caught driving on Winslow Way and Village Green Drive. He was wearing dark clothing with a mask around his neck and was armed with a firearm in his waistband, police confirmed to KCRA 3.

A photo of the suspected Stockton serial killer's gun.

McFadden later told KCRA 3 that Brownlee was driving a teal or green-colored van when officers performed a traffic stop because there was someone alone at Panella Park in danger of becoming the next victim.

“Throughout the surveillance, he was lurking around parks. He was lurking around in dark areas, just different areas that might have proved to be an area for him to kill. Once we knew he encountered an area where there was someone that was vulnerable and alone and in a dark place, that’s when we acted,” McFadden said.

Police confirmed to KCRA 3 they believe he is the person of interest captured in the video that they released on Oct. 4.

photo from stockton police department of person of interest sought in string of killings that they said appear to be connected.

Stockton Police Department

“What it was was his walk. I’ll be honest with you: the stride. That’s what people were keying in on,” McFadden said when asked what kind of information from the public helped identify Brownlee.

Police said they are testing the gun that Brownlee had to see if it’s linked to all seven shootings

| VIDEO BELOW | Neighbors describe possible encounters with Stockton serial killings suspect

What was Wesley Brownlee charged with?

Brownlee is being charged with the murders of Jonathan Rodriguez Hernandez, Juan Cruz and Lawrence Lopez, previously identified as Lorenzo Lopez.

Hernandez Rodriguez was killed Aug. 30, Cruz was killed Sept. 21 and Lopez was killed Sept. 27.

Two other charges include being a felon in possession of a firearm, as well as possession of ammunition.

Prosecutors said that Brownlee used a ghost gun for the three murders.

Why wasn’t Wesley Brownlee charged in the deaths of the three others?

Stockton police previously said they believed two other murders, that of 35-year-old Paul Alexander Yaw and 43-year-old Salvador William Debudey Jr., were also connected to the serial killings, but Brownlee currently is not charged with their deaths.

Authorities also believe a deadly shooting in Oakland and an attempted homicide of a Stockton woman are also connected to the serial killings.

The District Attorney’s Office is still investigating the three other murders.

“We charged the cases today because we believe we have sufficient evidence to pursue these charges and prove them beyond a reasonable doubt. We are also confident that additional charges will be added,” said District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar in a news conference after Brownlee appeared in court.

Does Wesley Brownlee have a criminal record?

Brownlee is a truck driver who recently moved from the Oakland area to Stockton where he has some relatives, Verber-Salazar said.

According to public records, Brownlee has a criminal history in California and Arizona connected to past drug violations, traffic violations, and a DUI.

In 1997, he was arrested in Alameda County for having “cocaine base,” or crack. Officers believed he was going to sell it. He served two years in state prison for it.

Brownlee was again arrested and convicted in 2001 in Alameda County for the same crime and served three years in prison this time. He was released to parole again in May 2003 and discharged from parole in May 2006, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said.

In 2009, Brownlee was arrested in San Joaquin County on DUI charges, according to public records, which also show two traffic violations in 2021 and 2022.

Brownlee pleaded “no contest” in 2014 in Alameda County after he was charged again for possessing cocaine. He served 16 days in jail and five years probation, which he served in San Joaquin County.

He was also cited in 2019 for failing to stop at the port of entry in Arizona.

Who was killed?

Six men were killed — five in Stockton this year and one in Oakland last year. The victims were identified by police as:

The victim in Oakland was a 40-year-old Hispanic man. Affiliate KTVU reported that the coroner identified the man as Juan Miguel Vasquez Serrano.

The San Francisco Chronicle, our Hearst affiliate, reported that Serrano was an unhoused individual known and well-liked in the Seminary neighborhood of East Oakland as a car mechanic-for-hire. People would occasionally let him sleep in the cars he was fixing.

| MORE | What we’re learning about victims of the Stockton serial killings

Why do authorities think the seven shootings are connected?

Stockton police have confirmed that ballistics tests have linked the shootings to one another, but police are not saying if all shootings are linked to the same gun.

Who was wounded?

A 46-year-old Black woman is the only known survivor of the shootings. Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said the woman biked to an encampment at Park and Union streets in Stockton where she was shot on April 16, 2021, at around 3:30 a.m.

The woman was by a tent when she saw a man, dressed in all dark clothing, wearing a dark face mask and a dark jacket. She said the man was anywhere between 5 foot 10 inches to 6 foot 2 inches.

The woman told police that no words were exchanged between them and that she tried defending herself by advancing toward him. She was hit multiple times by gunfire.

Where did the shootings happen?

Most of the deadly shootings happened in Stockton within a four-mile radius of one another. The shooting where the woman survived happened to the south of the five deadly shootings.

Here’s a map with more information:

When did the shootings happen?

The five deadly Stockton shootings that happened this year ranged from July 8 to Sept. 27.

The shooting in Stockton where the woman survived happened on April 16, 2021. The Oakland deadly shooting happened on April 10, 2021.

McFadden noted an inconsistent span of time between each attack. The time spent between the first attack on April 10, 2021, and the next one was six days. The time spent between that second attack and the third was 448 days.

From the third attack to the fourth attack, 34 days passed, McFadden said. From the fifth attack to the sixth attack, 22 days passed. And from the sixth attack to the last known attack on Sept. 27 was six days.

Was anyone being targeted?

It’s unclear exactly why the victims were targeted, but it’s notable that five victims out of the seven shootings were Hispanic men and four of the victims were experiencing homelessness.

Stockton police don’t believe that there is any indication that these are hate crimes.

Did the shootings have anything in common?

McFadden said in a press conference that the shootings tend to have a pattern: They happen when it’s dark, late at night, and when people are by themselves in badly lit areas.

The victims also appear to have been caught by surprise, he said.

How many people are believed to be involved in the killings?

Police said that Brownlee is the only suspect in the case “at this time.”

They had previously said they weren’t sure whether one person or more than one person had been involved.

Are the serial killings connected to two 2018 murders in Chicago?

Short answer: probably not.

Joe Silva, a spokesperson for the Stockton Police Department, at one point said officers were working with the Chicago Police Department to see if two 2018 Chicago murders are linked to the serial killings in Stockton and Oakland. The connection? The similarity in the suspect’s manner of walking in the surveillance videos in both cities.

But a day later, Stockton police said that investigators do not believe there is any connection between the killings in both cities.

Stockton serial killings: Police investigate possible connection in Chicago

Stockton Police Department, left, Chicago Police Department, right

In Chicago, two deadly shootings happened just 36 hours apart in the West Rogers neighborhood, according to the Chicago Tribune. Investigators released surveillance video of a suspect in those homicides. The person in this video — from the Sept. 30, 2018 murder — much like the person of interest in Stockton, had an uneven stride and walked with their hands in their pockets, and was called the “Duck Walk Killer.”

Read more here.

What else do we still not know?

What was exact the tip, or piece of information, that led police to Brownlee?

When did surveillance begin on Brownlee – was this overnight surveillance and arrest the first time he was followed by detectives?

What was the suspect’s motive?

This is a developing story, stay with KCRA 3 as we learn more about the suspect arrested and the series of killings.

Here is where you can download our app for the latest.



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