Stockton serial killings timeline: 43-year-old suspect arrested while 'hunting'

A suspect in the six slayings was arrested this weekend.

October 19, 2022, 8:17 AM

A suspected serial killer in Stockton, California, was apprehended this weekend while he was "out hunting" for another victim, according to police.

What we know

The suspect, Wesley Brownlee, a 43-year-old Stockton resident, was arrested while he was driving early Saturday, Stockton police chief Stanley McFadden announced at a news conference.

Authorities had zeroed in on Brownlee from tips and officers and surveilled Brownlee as he drove, according to police.

"His patterns were consistent with some of the patterns that we had seen ... around parks, around dark places, stopping, looking around, moving again," the chief said.

"He was on a mission to kill. He was out hunting," McFadden said in a statement. "As officers made contact with him, he was wearing dark clothing and a mask around his neck. He was also armed with a firearm when he was taken into custody. We are sure we stopped another killing."

Here's how the crimes unfolded:

April 10, 2021

At 4:18 a.m. on April 10, 2021, a 40-year-old man was shot and killed in Oakland, California. Stockton police announced on Monday that this killing has been linked to the spree; all of the other attacks were in Stockton.

April 16, 2021

Days later, on April 16, 2021, at 3:20 a.m., a 46-year-old woman was shot in Stockton and survived her injuries, police said.

She told officers she was in her tent and heard someone approaching. She came out to find someone holding a gun, police said. Multiple shots were fired but the shooter didn't say anything, she told police.

This shooting has also been linked to the spree, police said.

July 8, 2022

More than one year went by.

Then on July 8 at 12:31 a.m., a 35-year-old man, Paul Yaw, was fatally shot in Stockton, police said.

Yaw "was a good boy who grew into a good man with a big heart," his family said in a statement to ABC News. "He was a son, brother, father, grandson, nephew and cousin."

PHOTO: Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, was one of the victims of a serial killer in Stockton, Calif.
Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, was one of the victims of a serial killer in Stockton, Calif.
Greta Bogrow

Aug. 11, 2022

Weeks later, on Aug. 11 at 9:49 p.m., a 43-year-old man, Salvador Debudey Jr., was shot and killed, police said.

Aug. 30, 2022

The next victim was 21-year-old Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, who was fatally shot at 6:41 a.m. on Aug. 30 in Stockton.

PHOTO: Stockton, Calif., police released the locations of five murders believed to be committed by the same person since July 8.
Stockton, Calif., police released the locations of five murders believed to be committed by the same person since July 8.
Stockton Police Department

Sept. 21, 2022

A 52-year-old man, Juan Cruz, was fatally shot in Stockton at 4:27 a.m. on Sept. 21, police said.

Sept. 27, 2022

The final victim was 54-year-old Lawrence Lopez Sr., who was was fatally shot at 1:53 a.m. on Sept. 27, according to police.

Lopez was a musician who leaves behind six children, Jerry Lopez, his brother, told ABC News.

"It's mind-blowing that the deaths are supposedly connected," Jerry Lopez said.

PHOTO: In this undated photo released by the Lopez family, Lorenzo Lopez is shown.
In this undated photo released by the Lopez family, Lorenzo Lopez is shown.
Jerry Lopez Family

Sept. 30, 2022

On Sept. 30, Stockton police announced they believed the five 2022 homicides were linked, adding that they met the definition of a serial killer.

Police released this image of a man who is considered a person of interest.

PHOTO: Stockton, Calif., police released a photo of a person of interest in the murders of five men in the city since July.
Stockton, Calif., police released a photo of a person of interest in the murders of five men in the city since July.
Stockton Police Department

Oct. 3, 2022

On Oct. 3, police said they believed the two 2021 shootings -- one fatal and one non-fatal -- were also linked.

Oct. 4, 2022

On Oct. 4, Stockton police released a short video of a person of interest.

McFadden said it's unclear if the person of interest in the video "is a suspect or a witness, but it's an individual that we have seen at more than one scene."

Police ask anyone with information to call Stockton Crime Stoppers at 209-946-0600.

Oct. 15, 2022

Wesley Brownlee was arrested for homicide early Saturday morning, the chief said.

McFadden said he had very emotional conversations with the victims' families.

"Even though aren’t any words that we can say that will bring back the lost loved ones, the least that we could do is do our part -- to bring justice," he said.

Oct. 18, 2022

Brownlee made his first court appearance Tuesday. He was charged with three counts of murder, with more charges expected, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said at a news conference.

He was held without bail, Sacramento ABC affiliate KXTV reported.

Brownlee was a truck driver and moved to Stockton this summer, the district attorney said.

"This individual thought he could come to our community and do harm -- not in our house," the district attorney said. "You do not get to come into our house and do this kind of crime ... and not think that [the Stockton Police Department] is not gonna ... find you and hold you fully accountable."

ABC News' Zohreen Shah, Alyssa Pone, Jenna Harrison Esseling and Caroline Guthrie contributed to this report.

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