Police in California investigating possible serial killings, seeking person of interest
STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — Police in Stockton, California, are asking for the public’s help in identifying a person of interest in a “series of killings” that investigators believe are connected.
Five men have been shot and killed in the city south of Sacramento since July 8. The latest killing occurred on Tuesday, Sept. 27. All the shootings happened when the victims were alone during the night or early morning, while they were walking or in their cars, police said.
Aside from the first victim killed back in July, all the men killed were Hispanic, police said. The first victim was a white man. Their ages ranged from 21 to 54.
Police Chief Stanley McFadden said they believe the person of interest, shown in the photograph below, can shed light on at least one of the killings. He emphasized, however, the person of interest could be a witness or a suspect.
The only photo police released of the person of interest reveal little detail. McFadden said investigators identified the person after scrubbing through hundreds of hours of video.
Police are describing the deaths as a “series of killings,” but stopped short of saying a serial killer was on the loose.
“Here’s what I can say is we have a series of homicides that we believe are interconnected,” McFadden said in a press conference last week. “The problem we have is we have no evidence to tell us that it’s one person, two or three. We just don’t know that.”
He added there’s no video footage capturing any of the crimes, making it even harder to determine if it’s one person or multiple people responsible.
“By definition, you could probably very well call this serial killings, but at this time, we don’t know if it’s a person, two or three – we just don’t know,” he said.
McFadden said there is no indication the killings are related to gang violence.
“We are currently assembling a team of detectives, task force officers (federal, state, and county), crime analysts, camera room operators, and evidence technicians who will be taking a very close look at some of these patterns we are seeing,” police said.
The locations and dates of the five killings are as follows, according to Stockton Police:
- July 8: 5600 block of Kermit Lane around 12:30 a.m.
- Aug. 11: 4900 block of West Lane around 9:39 p.m.
- Aug. 30: 800 block of East Hammer Lane around 6:40 a.m.
- Sept. 21: 4400 block of Manchester Avenue around 4:30 a.m.
- Sept. 27: 900 block Porter Avenue around 1:51 a.m.
“Something we have to remember here, there are grieving families that are deeply touched by these homicides, and I want to bring closure to them,” McFadden said. “And we bring closure to them by having a thorough investigation without misinformation.”
Police ask anyone who lives near those areas to check their doorbell and security cameras for potential information. Rewards that lead to an arrest total $85,000.
The police chief also asked city residents to be extremely aware of where they are and of any people around them at night or in the early morning hours. He also advised residents to stay in well-lit areas.
On Wednesday, there will be a town hall meeting for community members to voice their concerns to police and other city officials.
Anyone with information can call the tip line at 209-937-8167 or email email@example.com.
KTXL’s Jacque Porter contributed to this report.