The shooting deaths of six men and the wounding of a woman in central California could be the handiwork of a “bold and brazen” serial killer who’s been prowling the streets for more than a year, police revealed.
Officials with the Stockton Police Department said ballistic tests have linked seven shootings that occurred in Stockton and Oakland between April 2021 and September 2022.
Last week, authorities announced five men had been ambushed and shot dead in the dark in recent months.
Then on Monday, police said two additional cases had been linked to those killings.
“It definitely meets the definition of a serial killer,” said Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva. “What makes this different is the shooter is just looking for an opportunity, and unfortunately our victims were alone in a dark area.”
Police would not say whether all seven shootings had been traced back to the same gun.
None of the men murdered in Stockton was robbed, beaten or appeared to have known each other — but all of the killings happened within a few miles of each other between July 8 and September 27, according to Silva.
The shootings also do not seem to be related to gangs or drugs.
Police have not ruled out that multiple people may have been involved in the shootings.
“To be honest, we just don’t know,” Silva said. “This person or people who are out doing this, they are definitely very bold and brazen.”
The 46-year-old woman who was wounded in the Stockton shooting on April 16, 2021, was also alone at the time, police said.
The shooting death of a 40-year-old man in Oakland on the morning of April 10, 2021, has also been connected to the killings in Stockton, police said.
The San Joaquin County Office of the Medical Examiner identified the Stockton victims on Monday as Paul Yaw, 35, who was killed on July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, who died on Aug. 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, who died on Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, 52, who was killed on Sept. 21; and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, on Sept. 27.
Yaw’s mother, Greta Bogrow, described her son, who was homeless at the time of his death, to the station KCRA as “a great man with a big heart.”
Debudey was in a parking lot in the 4900 block of West Lane when he was shot and pronounced dead at the scene, leaving behind his wife and daughter.
“It’s caused a lot of pain, a lot of pain to our family,” said Debudey’s widow, Analydia Lopez.
Shortly before 2 a.m. Sept. 27, Lopez was in the 900 block of Porter Avenue when he was shot and killed.
He “was just a person who was out here at the wrong place, at the wrong time, at the wrong circumstance,” his brother, Jerry Lopez, told KXTV-TV. “It’s hard to process that this has happened.”
Police said four of the Stockton homicide victims were walking alone and a fifth was in a parked car when they were killed in the evening or early morning.
While most of the victims were Hispanic, cops don’t know if the shootings are hate crimes.
The city of Stockton is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to a suspect’s arrest. Stockton Crime Stoppers offered an additional $10,000 and a construction company donated another $10,000.
With Post wires