A suspected serial killer who evaded capture for nearly two years has finally been arrested in the Central Valley city of Stockton, California.
Wesley Brownlee, 43, is believed to have shot seven people in the last 18 months, killing all but one of the victims. Police had been tracking Brownlee’s movements in the early hours of Saturday morning, and prior to his apprehension, they say he was in search of new victims to kill, the Daily Mail reported.
“Early this morning he was on a mission to kill, he was out hunting,” said Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden on Saturday. “He was wearing dark clothing and had 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,” he declared.
(Video: Daily Mail)
“Our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving,” McFadden explained “We watched his patterns and determined early this morning, he was on a mission to kill.”
Authorities pointed to hundreds of “community tips” and “good old fashioned police work” in the suspect’s arrest. One of those tips led police to Brownlee’s house, which they staked-out until he headed out on the prowl.
(IMG-Fox News/Stockton Police Department)
The suspected serial killer embarked on what authorities have called a “reign of terror” beginning with the first shooting of 39-year-old Miguel Vasquez Serrano, a homeless man, in April of last year.
Brownlee then allegedly targeted Natasha LaTour, 46, who was also living on the streets of Stockton at the time. Despite being shot nine times, she was able to flag down a motorist who called 911. She was able to convey some information to police before passing out and waking up four days later in the hospital.
The case went semi-cold when the killer reportedly took a break for more than 400 days. He resumed his hunt for victims in July of this year.
According to the Daily Mail, Paul Yaw, 35, died on July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, died on August 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, died on August 30; and Juan Cruz, 52, died on September 21. His last alleged victim was Lawrence Lopez Sr., who died on September 27.
(IMG/SG – Daily Mail)
None of the victims were robbed or beaten during the encounters, and police say there is no indication that any of them were acquainted. Furthermore, police say they don’t believe any of the killings to be drug or gang related; rather, that the killer was “mission oriented.”
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln said Saturday following the arrest that Stockton residents could “rest a little bit easier tonight.”
“I want to make this very very clear, to the people of Stockton, to the United States and around the world. When the people of Stockton come together and we unite we can get things done. Stockton will be a place where people can live, raise a family and grow a business,” he said.
Brownlee is scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday.
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