Stockton Serial Killer: What to know
Mugshot of serial murder suspect, Wesley Brown
Written By Mona Taleb-Agha
On Thursday, October 13th Stockton police arrested who they believe may be a suspect in their search for a serial killer on the loose.
Wesley Brownlee, 43, of Stockton was arrested by police at 2am on Thursday while he was driving around the city. Police believe he was driving around that late while “out hunting” for his next victim. The suspect was also wearing dark clothing, a mask and had his firearm in his waistband.
Stockton police held a press conference over the weekend, where Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden stated: “our surveillance team followed this person while he was driving. We watched his patterns and determined early this morning he was on a mission to kill.”
Wesley Brownlee has been an on-again, off-again Stockton resident who the police have connected to seven distinct shooting incidents, including a singular shooting in Oakland in 2021. Only one victim survived the shootings: a 46 year old Stockton woman who recalled the encounter by the name of Natasha LaTour. She recalled exchanging looks with the assailant before he began shooting at her. “There were no words exchanged. Didn’t come any closer. Didn’t say anything. Just started shooting. I saw, I saw flashes,” she said. “I was on the side and then a man came around the corner. They already had the gun out, and they just started shooting. I ran towards him knowing I’d have to get closer to the street if I wanted to survive”, adding that she was hit by approximately 10 bullets. She collapsed in the street and was discovered by a driver who called 911 upon seeing her and stopping their vehicle. After being questioned by the police, she described the shooter as dressed in all black, wearing a mask and anywhere between 510” and 6’2”. Her recollection of the incident was instrumental to catching the killer, recognizing him from the surveillance footage shown to her by police.
There has been no motive established and the shootings don’t seem to have been classified as hate crimes. Out of the five recent victims in Stockton and the first two victims in Oakland, four have been Hispanic men. The other victims included a woman, a white male, and a black male. The youngest victim was 21 years old and the oldest victim was 53. The victims names are (not including the survivor):
35-year-old Paul Alexander Yaw
43-year-old Salvador William Debudey Jr.
21-year-old Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez
52-year-old Juan Cruz
52-year-old Lorenzo Lopez
40-year old Juan Miguel Vasquez Serrano
Brownlee has a criminal history spanning 25 years, the first being when he was a mere 14 years old for possession of crack cocaine. The same year, he was arrested again and accused of sexually assaulting another 14 year old girl with two other boys, but denied the allegations and pinned the blame on his two friends. He was arrested yet again the same year for selling cocaine to an undercover officer and was subsequently placed under house arrest as a juvenile. Prior to his most recent arrest, his last scuffle with the law was in 2019 after failing to stop at the point of entry in Arizona.
Raised in a family of six children, he spent his youth in the Seminary district of Oakland and lost an older brother to gun violence in Oakland as a teenager, which caused him to be “very distressed over his death” according to his mother, who urged him to get therapy over him being subsequently “continually depressed”. A probation officer working with him a the time found him “mentally slow” and “learning disabled”. After a two year stint in jail, he resumed living with his mother in Stockton after his parents had split.
Brownlee’s arrest came after a 125,000 reward was offered for information regarding the killings was offered by the Stockton police. In days before his arrest, hundreds of tips were being called in every day. The police are still working out whether the money will go to one tipster or being divided between several.
As for LaTour, the only known survivor of the shootings, she’s been sober since the attack and is no longer homeless. “I truthfully honestly, 100% forgive the person who shot me, and I want them to know in a strange way they kind of saved my life,” she said.
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