With the California city of Stockton under threat after a series of late-night shootings by an unidentified assailant, police officials believe another murder was averted with arrest a suspect this weekend.
Sheriff Stanley McFadden said Wesley Brownlee, 43, of Stockton, was arrested around 2 a.m. Saturday, dressed in dark clothing with a mask around his neck and armed with a gun.
“He was on a murder mission. He went hunting,” McFadden said. “We are sure we have prevented another murder,” he added.
Following advice from the public, a surveillance team followed Brownlee as he drove around parks and dark places, “stopping, looking around and moving again,” McFadden said. The team tracked his samples and arrested him after they “determined that he was posing a threat,” the sheriff said.
Brownlee is suspected of killing six men and wounding a woman in a string of shootings, the earliest shooting dating back to April 2021 and the most recent reported late last month, officials said. official said.
Police said all the victims were alone in the evening or early morning when they were attacked.
While searching for the gunman, police earlier this month released surveillance video of a man they say is a man of interest. The headman pointed out at the time that the person’s posture was “extremely upright and very noticeable.”
Reward for information leading to an arrest grow up to $125,000 this week.
According to Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln, Stockton Mayor Kevin J. Lincoln has received hundreds of tips from members of the public.
“This crime has been solved because we are Stocktonians. Because you didn’t come to our house and bring this kind of terrorist domination and didn’t mobilize the 350,000 people – 780,000, this whole county – who mobilized, mobilized and arrested this individual whose reign of terror emperor is gone,” said San Joaquin County Attorney Tori Verber Salazar.
The police chief said the suspect “has a criminal history”, but did not provide further details.
Brownlee was held in county jail Saturday without bail, according to prison records. He will be taken to court on Tuesday afternoon, according to Salazar.
Ballistic evidence connects the cases, raising alarms about a “potential serial killer,” McFadden said earlier this month.
Authorities are still investigating a motive for the shooting, which police have described as “duty motivated.” According to the sheriff, nothing was done in any of the attacks, and the victims were all married and uncared for.
McFadden said last week that the average age of the victims was 42, they were predominantly male and mostly Hispanic.
The first of seven shootings is believed to have occurred in the early morning hours of April 10, 2021, in Oakland, more than 70 miles from Stockton. Police said a 40-year-old Hispanic man was killed.
The next shooting occurred on April 16, 2021, when a 46-year-old black woman was shot in Stockton and survived her wounds. She is the only survivor.
In an interview with police, the woman said she heard someone walking around her campsite and came out to see the attacker holding a gun at her. McFadden said at a news conference last week that the gunman fired multiple shots, injuring her as she tried to defend herself.
She told police her attacker didn’t say anything, and was wearing dark clothing and a dark Covid-style mask, the sheriff said.
The rest of the shootings happened this year between july and september, officials said. Four of those killed this year were Hispanic men, ages 21 to 54, and the fifth was a 35-year-old Caucasian male, police said.
The victims of this year’s murders were identified by the San Joaquin County medical examiner as: Paul Yaw, 35, killed on 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, were killed on September 27.
All seven shootings happened in dark areas where there weren’t many cameras. Victims “are alone, often caught off guard, or can relax in the car or walk alone in near gloom,” says McFadden. told CNN’s Kasie Hunt in the first day of this month.