California serial killer suspect charged with 3 murders

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Prosecutors on Tuesday apprehended a Northern California man with fatally shooting three men whom authorities have said were among six men killed by a serial killer over the past 18 months.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, was arrested Saturday in connection with a series of shootings dating back to April 2021 in which six men were killed, and a woman was wounded. Police had been conducting surveillance on him in the early morning hours Saturday as he drove through the streets of Stockton, armed with a handgun and possibly “out hunting” for another victim.

On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office filed three counts of murder, one count of a felon possessing a firearm, and one count of possessing ammunition. He is currently only charged in the three most recent slayings in Stockton.

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In a news briefing Tuesday afternoon, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar confirmed that all seven shootings have been connected through ballistics but that the investigation is still in its early stages.

“We’re waiting for additional evidence to be processed through that will most likely, we believe, allow us to add those additional charges,” Salazar said.

Brownlee is a truck driver who moved to Stockton this past summer, Salazar said, adding that “he has some family in the community, not very many.”

On Tuesday, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden would not say if police believe the gun found on Brownlee when he was arrested used in any of the shootings.

There is still no word on a possible motive in the killings.

The five men killed in Stockton this year were Paul Yaw, 35, who died July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, who died August 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, who died August 30; Juan Cruz, 52, who died September 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, who died September 27.

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Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, was killed in Oakland on April 10, 2021.

Natasha LaTour, 46, was shot in Stockton on April 16, 2021, but survived.

The criminal complaint filed Tuesday only lists charges for the killings of Rodriguez, Cruz, and Lopez.

According to The East Bay Times, Brownlee has a criminal history that includes traffic violations and convictions for drug crimes that go back to an arrest when he was 15 years old. He was most recently discharged from parole in 2006.

It was not immediately known if Brownlee has an attorney who can comment on his behalf. He is being held in jail without bail.

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