A string of five murders reported in Stockton since early July are linked, city police confirmed on Friday, and a person of interest is being sought.
The first murder was reported on July 8, followed by killings on August 11, August 30, September 21 and Tuesday, police said. All incidents were reported as shooting deaths, with all but the first victim identified as Hispanic males, ages 21 to 54. The first was identified as a 35-year-old white male.
“It’s just people who were caught off guard,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a news conference on Friday. “It wasn’t a robbery, no items are being stolen and they’re not talking about gang activity in the area or anything.”
The killings all occurred in the evening or early morning hours, and each victim was alone at the time, police said.
“By definition, you could probably very well call that a serial killer, right,” McFadden said. “But at this point we don’t know if it’s one person, two or three. We just don’t know.”
When questioned further, he stopped calling the suspect a serial killer.
“I think we need to focus on a series of murders that are linked and result in loss of life,” he said. “In the end it doesn’t matter who the culprit is, someone gets buried and that’s a problem for me.”
McFadden said none of the crimes were caught on camera and there was no indication the killings were gang-related or racially motivated.
“We really don’t know how things are going to play out just because of the lack of witnesses,” McFadden said. “I can’t say it often enough: we need [the public’s] Help.”
On Friday, Stockton Police shared a photo of a person of interest but did not say if the person was considered a suspect or a witness.
“I don’t know what that person is,” McFadden said. “I don’t know if that person happened to be in the area.”
“We need the community’s help in these areas,” McFadden said. “Look at your ring cameras, look at the footage you have up to those dates.”
His department announced that the city is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Stockton Crime Stoppers is offering an additional $10,000.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-10-01/five-stockton-homicides-are-related-police-say Five Stockton homicides are ‘related,’ police seeking person of interest