Here is what we know about the Stockton serial killer suspect – San Francisco Chronicle

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Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden speaks during a press conference at the Stockton Police Department headquarters in Stockton, Calif., on the arrest of suspect Wesley Brownlee in the Stockton serial killings on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Behind McFadden is a booking photo of Brownlee. (Clifford Oto/The Record via AP)
Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden speaks during a news conference at the Stockton Police Department headquarters about the arrest of suspect Wesley Brownlee in a series of killings in Stockton, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Pictured behind McFadden are Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln, left, San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Veber Salazar and Stockton city manager Harry Black. (Clifford Oto/The Record via AP)
This booking photo provided by the Stockton Police Department shows Wesley Brownlee, from Stockton, Calif., who was arrested Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022, in connection to a series of shootings. Brownlee, suspected of killing six men and wounding a woman in Northern California was arrested before dawn Saturday as he was apparently searching for another victim, police said. (Stockton Police Department via AP)
UPDATE: Stockton serial killer suspect had prior criminal drug convictions.
Police on Saturday arrested a man they believe is the serial killer who has shot and killed five people in Stockton, terrorizing the central California city since his presence was first announced last month.
Police said they intercepted the suspect, Wesley Brownlee, as he hunted for a victim around 2 a.m. Saturday, dressed in black and carrying a handgun. Brownlee was booked into custody on several felony charges, including murder and carrying a concealed weapon. His arrest ended weeks of speculation and fear after police connected him to a string of shootings in Stockton’s north side.
Following his arrest, Brownlee, 43, was taken to the San Joaquin County jail, where he remained on Sunday with no bail set.
Brownlee had not been arraigned as of Sunday afternoon, meaning he has not yet appeared in court to enter a plea. Nicholas Goucher, a San Joaquin County sheriff’s deputy, said Sunday it was unclear whether the suspect had retained a lawyer or met with a public defender during his time in the jail.
He is expected to be arraigned in court on Tuesday at 1:30 p.m, according to the San Joaquin County district attorney’s office.
Little is known about the suspect’s background or criminal history, though police said he has one. His case file shows he was arrested in connection with two felony charges related to a felon or addict in possession of a handgun, as well as a prohibited person in possession of ammunition.
Searches of public records show he appears to have pleaded guilty to a traffic violation in Arizona in 2019.
Investigators had begun following Brownlee after receiving tips that identified him as a possible suspect.
His arrest came around 2 a.m. Saturday, in the window of time the serial killer has been known to strike. Police followed Brownlee as he was driving through the streets of north Stockton on an apparent “mission to kill,” according to Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden.
Brownlee — who was carrying a handgun and wearing dark clothing at the time of his arrest — may have been “out hunting” for another victim when police apprehended him, McFadden said. He was arrested in a quiet residential area next to a park, an area that resembled the location a previous victim was gunned down.
Stockton officials publicly announced the presence of a serial killer in the central California city in late September. That’s when the city’s police department released a surveillance video showing an unidentified “person of interest” in a series of related fatal shootings, asking the public’s help in the case.
The five fatal killings had striking similarities: They were all shootings that took place between dusk and dawn while the victims, most of whom were people living in encampments, were alone and isolated. They occurred between July and September on the north side of Stockton’s Calaveras River. Ballistics evidence appeared to tie the incidents together.
The surveillance video appeared to show a man dressed in dark clothing and with a distinctive walk.
City agencies offered a $125,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.
Police received hundreds of tips after announcing that a serial killer was at large in late September. They have not indicated who provided the information that led to Brownlee’s arrest, and it was unknown Sunday whether the reward had been disbursed.
A private Facebook page created to share tips about the killing spree attracted nearly 4,000 members, though it was unclear what role — if any — the group played in the arrest.
Nora Mishanec is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: Twitter: @NMishanec
Nora Mishanec is a San Francisco Chronicle breaking news and enterprise reporter. She joined the paper in 2020 as a Hearst fellow and returned in 2022 after a stint at The Houston Chronicle.


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