Wesley Brownlee charged in 4 additional killings, authorities say


A man suspected in a series of murders in California, who police said was caught while “on the hunt” for another victim, has been charged in four more killings, bringing the total to seven, state officials announced this week.

Wesley Brownlee, 43, has also been charged again with attempted murder in an attack on a woman who ran away last year. Brownlee is accused of carrying out random shootings under the cover of darkness before fleeing the scenes of seven murders and one botched attack.

The explosions occurred in the Central Valley of California in 2021 and 2022, fueling fear among residents. When the killer was released in the fall, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden told the public to “keep your head on a swivel.”

Police arrested Brownlee on October 15 after he was tailgated while driving. McFadden said when he reported the arrest, he was taken into custody around 2 a.m. at gunpoint and wearing dark clothing with a mask around his neck.

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“We watched his patterns and determined early this morning that he was on a mission to kill,” McFadden said in a news conference at the time. “He was out hunting.”

Brownlee was initially charged with the murders of Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, Juan Cruz and Lawrence Lopez Sr. was charged, the Los Angeles Times reported. According to police, the crimes happened between August and September in Stockton.

On Tuesday, the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s Office announced it had filed an amended complaint charging Brownlee with the murders of Juan Alexander Vasquez and Mervin Harmon of Alameda County, as well as Paul Yaw and Salvador Debudey Jr. filed suit in San Joaquin County. He was also charged with attempted murder in the attack on Natasha LaTour, who survived and told police the shooter was wearing dark clothing, a dark jacket and a black “covid-style” mask.

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District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar said in a statement that officials are working to “get justice for these victims.”

“We would like to thank the community for their support and law enforcement for their diligent investigation and arrest of the suspect,” she added.

According to the complaint, Vasquez was fatally shot on April 10, 2021. Six days later the shootings of Harmon and LaTour occurred. Yaw was killed on July 8, 2022 and Debudey Jr. was killed on August 11.

The victims, many of whom were homeless, were attacked at night or early in the morning when they were alone, according to the Times.

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Officials said the killings were linked to ballistics and video evidence and that tips from the public helped lead to a suspect. Prior to the arrest, police had released blurry images of a person of interest, whose face was not visible. Police said they are looking for a suspect who drove by in a vehicle and stopped near the park in the dark, then took a home for a target, who would approach him on foot.

That’s what Brownlee allegedly did when he was arrested, the Times reported. Investigators had been watching him for several days after identifying him as a suspect, when, Stockton police spokesman Joseph Silva told the newspaper, they saw him get out of the car he was driving and approach someone in a parking lot.

Brownlee is expected to be arraigned on the additional charges on Tuesday.


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