Police in Stockton, California, are sharing new details about how they came to focus on accused serial killer Wesley Brownlee, who allegedly murdered six men and wounded a woman for the past year and a half, Fox News Digital reports.
Officers arrested Brownlee, 43, in the early morning hours of October 15 while “out hunting” for another victim, authorities said.
Most victims were Hispanic, some were homeless and none had been robbed. Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, a father of three, was fatally shot April 10, 2021. Natasha LaTour, a homeless woman, was shot multiple times six days later. She was sleeping in a tent but woke up around 3:320 p.m. to find a man with a gun outside.
“There were no words exchanged,” LaTour told 209 Times. “Didn’t come any closer. Didn’t say anything. Just started shooting. I saw, I saw flashes.”
Then this past summer, prosecutors say Brownlee continued the spree. He is accused of killing 35-year-old Paul Yaw on July 8; 43-year-old Salvador Debudey Jr. on August 11; 21-year-old Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez on August 30; 52-year-old Juan Cruz on September 21; and 54-year-old Lawrence Lopez Sr. on September 27.
On September 30, investigators announced that they had developed evidence connecting five of the shootings to one suspect. Police later said they could tie the two shootings in 2021 to the same individual. Those connections were based on ballistic evidence and video from security cameras, several of which showed a thin man wearing all black stalking the victims.
Following those announcements, police began receiving numerous tips and investigators identified Brownlee as a person of interest. Surveillance crews began watching his every move.
“Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said in a statement issued on Saturday. “We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he was on a mission to kill.”
Around 2 a.m., police observed Brownlee visit multiple parks and other dark places for periods of time, then move on. These were similar locations at similar times of night as when the other victims were killed.
“He was out hunting,” McFadden said in the statement.
Police intercepted Brownlee and found him wearing “dark clothing and a mask around his neck.” He also had a black and gray handgun.
“We are sure we stopped another killing,” McFadden added.
Brownlee has been charged with murder and firearm infractions and is being held in jail without bail. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday for an arraignment.
According to the East Bay Times, Brownlee’s brother was shot to death in 1995 when Brownlee was 16 years old. A probation officer reportedly wrote that Brownlee “apparently suffers both innate mental limitation and psychological stress over his brother’s 1995 shooting death,” according to records obtained by the news outlet.
Shortly after his brother died, Brownlee was arrested for selling drugs and served seven months in prison before being released on parole. He was convicted again of drug crimes in 2001 and 2014.
To report information about the case, call 209-937-8167 or share tips anonymously by visiting StocktonCrimeStoppers.org.
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[Featured image: Police Handout]