BREAKING NEWS: The suspected serial killer, 43, is arrested while “looking for new victims” as police believe he may be behind a string of shocking execution-style murders in California
- The California killer has been linked to seven deaths since 2021
- Whitaker, 43, was taken into custody around 2am on Saturday morning while authorities say he is on the lookout for his next murder
- Five of the seven victims were Hispanic, though police say it’s unclear if the killer was motivated by race
- Stockton Mayor says families in the community should be able to “rest a little easier” tonight.
police in California say they have apprehended a suspected serial killer responsible for a handful of murders that have plagued the Stockton and Oakland areas.
Authorities say they arrested the suspect, identified as Wesley Brownlee, 43, as he was about to claim another life.
Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Saturday: “This morning he was on a mission to kill, he was hunting.”
“He was wearing dark clothes and had a mask around his neck. He was also armed with a gun when he was arrested. We’re sure we prevented another murder,” he continued.
Brownlee is said to have terrorized the community for more than a year.
Wesley Brownlee, 43, was arrested by Stockton police early Saturday morning. He is suspected of killing at least seven people in the past 18 months
Police say Brownlee was on the hunt for a new victim when he was arrested early Saturday. His alleged victims were all shot
His first alleged killing occurred on April 21 and his most recent “hunt” occurred less than a month before his arrest.
He is now in custody and is due to appear in court on Tuesday afternoon.
McFadden said his officers were able to make a breakthrough in the case because of “community tips” and “good old-fashioned police work.”
So far, authorities have linked six gun deaths in California cities to a single murderer since early 2021.
Law enforcement has labeled Brownlee’s killing spree as a “reign of terror.” Only one of his alleged victims survived the shot.
Earlier this month, police released footage of a man they believed to be the Stockton serial killer. The footage shows a man with “uneven strides” who appears to be “on a mission.”
Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden speaks during a news conference at Stockton Police Department headquarters regarding the arrest of suspect Wesley Brownlee in a series of murders in Stockton, Calif., Saturday October 15, 202
Police have linked Brownlee to seven homicides in the Oakland and Stockton areas in the past 18 months
The first of his victims was 39-year-old Miguel Vasquez Serrano, who died in East Oakland last April.
The next victim was not killed until early July this summer.
Paul Yaw, 35, died July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, died August 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, died August 30; and Juan Cruz, 52, died September 21.
His last alleged kill was Lawrence Lopez Sr., who died September 27.
Five of the killer’s seven victims were Hispanic, although it remains unclear if they were targeted because of their race. Some of the victims were homeless, others were not.
None of the victims were robbed or beaten before they were killed, and none appeared to know each other.
In addition, according to police, the killings appeared to be unrelated to a gang or drugs.
Police don’t yet know the motive, but say they believe the killer was “mission-minded.”
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln said Saturday after the arrest that members of the community should be able to “be a little quieter tonight.”
“I want to make this very, very clear to the people of Stockton, the United States, and around the world. When the people of Stockton get together and we unite, we can get things done. Stockton will be a place for people to live, raise families and build businesses,” he said.