A person who authorities say used a ghost gun in 5 homicides in Stockton, California, from April 2021 until late final month was formally charged with homicide Tuesday.
Police looking for a serial killer arrested Wesley Brownlee, 43, throughout a visitors cease early Saturday. Officers say he had been planning to focus on one other sufferer earlier than he was apprehended.
Brownlee was charged with three counts of homicide Tuesday.
These three deaths are among the many six that police say a serial killer is accountable for. The killings passed off from April 2021 to Sept. 27 of this 12 months.
Stockton, California, serial killings
The district lawyer stated she expects further prices in two different murders in Stockton, in addition to an tried homicide. A slaying in Oakland has been linked to the case, however the Alameda County District Legal professional’s Workplace stated it was not but clear whether or not prices towards Brownlee can be pursued there.
Brownlee can also be accused of being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
A public defender for Brownlee efficiently requested that his arraignment happen Nov. 14. She didn’t supply a denial or a protection of the allegations.
The general public defender’s workplace for San Joaquin County didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.
In courtroom Tuesday, Brownlee, who appeared stoic and unemotional, was ordered held with out bail, in keeping with county inmate data.
San Joaquin County District Legal professional Tori Verber Salazar indicated at a information convention Tuesday that ballistics proof can be essential.
Prosecutors indicated a “polymer” weapon was the one one tied to the collection of slayings in Stockton.
“We are able to show with excessive confidence the identical gun was used within the three homicides we’re charging you with as we speak,” Salazar stated on the information convention, addressing the defendant.
“We consider we’ve the individual accountable,” Salazar stated. “I’m very, very constructive within the close to future you’ll be listening to further prices, as effectively.”
Prosecutors stated the weapon is a “ghost gun,” a firearm that may be 3D printed with out a federally mandated serial quantity or the standard background test and delay that include the retail buy of a gun.
It’s regarded as one of many first identified serial homicide instances through which a ghost gun was stated to be the weapon.
In some situations, such weapons have been used virtually like so-called burner cellphones — as disposable units. The weapons, which at the moment are prohibited in some cities, have raised issues amongst police and the Justice Division as a result of they permit anybody to avoid authorized filters for firearm possession.
As a convicted felon, Brownlee was prohibited from having a gun. His felony document consists of a number of drug convictions however no allegations of violence.
A legislation enforcement supply with information of the document stated that in early 1999 Brownlee was sentenced to 2 years in jail for possession on the market of a managed substance. He was launched on parole about seven months later.
In 2001 he was sentenced to 3 years in state jail for transporting or promoting medication, the supply stated. He was launched to parole in 2003 and discharged from parole in 2006.
Each instances had been prosecuted in Alameda County.
NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento reported that his document included allegations tied to possession of crack cocaine.
Stockton police have stated the serial killer’s victims had been predominantly Latino, as is the neighborhood. At the very least one has been described as Black; three had been described as homeless.
Police Chief Stanley McFadden stated there is not any proof of hate as a motive.
“We all know this individual wasn’t stealing, wasn’t robbing, they weren’t doing aside from killing,” he stated. “You recognize the motive at this level is an individual who’s on a mission to kill.”
A deadly assault on April 10, 2021, was the one one exterior Stockton, and it’s believed to be the serial killer’s first. It occurred in Oakland, when Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, was shot within the predawn darkness, officers stated.
Police and prosecutors indicated all of the assaults have some hyperlink to the weapon police seized Saturday. Investigators cited a statewide ballistics database for serving to them tie the 2021 victims to the spree.
Tuesday’s formal prices are related to the slayings of Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, of Stockton, who died Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, 52, of Stockton, who died Sept. 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, of Stockton, who died Sept. 27.
The opposite victims embrace Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, of Stockton, who died July 8; and Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, of Stockton, who died Aug. 11.
The spree’s sole survivor, a 46-year-old Black girl who lived on the road in Stockton, was shot after she confronted a person exterior her tent on April 16, 2021.
Andrew Blankstein, Liza Torres and Todd Miyazawa contributed.