Photo: Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden listens to a question from the media during Friday’s press conference concerning a recent string of murders in the city. (VIVIENNE AGUILAR/STOCKTONIA)
Stockton’s Police Chief, Stanley McFadden addressed the rumors of a serial killer in the city and asked residents to help investigators solve the case.
McFadden held a press conference on Friday afternoon to share new information related to five killings the department believes are connected, and announced officers need assistance from the community to help find a person potentially related to the investigation.
“At the end of the day it doesn’t matter who the perpetrator is, someone’s getting hurt and that’s a problem,” McFadden said
At the press conference, McFadden released a grainy photo of someone turned away from a security camera; police feel the individual is a potential suspect or witness to the crimes. The chief said the suspect’s gender isn’t clear from the photo.
The Stockton Police Department is assembling a team to look into patterns connecting the murders, according to a Facebook post on Wednesday When asked whether he was ready to call the culprit a serial killer, McFadden replied “I don’t know what this person is.”
“These are a series of killings where we believe there is some interconnectivity. It’s very hard when you don’t know if it’s one person or if there’s people involved that aren’t being captured,” McFadden said.
Four of the five people killed were Hispanic men, and one was white, McFadden said. Some of the victims lived in the area they were found and others were unhoused.
According to police, the first killing in the series took place after midnight on July 8 in the 5600 block of Kermit Lane. Police say the victim was a 35 year-old white man.
The second victim was a 43-year-old Hispanic male who was shot at around 10 p.m. on Aug. 11 at the 4900 block of West Lane, according to the police, and on Aug. 30 a Hispanic man, 21, was found shot early in the morning in the 800 block E. Hammer Lane.
Also in the early morning on Sept. 21, a 52 year-old Hispanic man was killed by a gunshot wound inside the 4400 block of Manchester Avenue.
The most recent murder happened on Sept. 27 in the 900 block of Porter Avenue early in the morning. The victim was also a Hispanic man. He was 54.
McFadden said police have no reason to believe the crimes are racially motivated.
McFadden said the department believes the murders are connected because victims were all killed by a firearm and were alone in dimly lit areas without cameras during the night or early morning.
The murders don’t fit what officers are accustomed to seeing in relation to gang homicides. None of the victims were robbed, McFadden said.
Police canvassed neighborhoods in areas where victims were found. Officers’ schedules have been flipped to provide specialized units around the clock, McFadden said.
Spreading misinformation on social media is not helpful during the investigation, McFadden said during Friday’s press conference. He did not want to comment on said rumors and asked that community members share tips with the police.
“Factual information will be brought on a regular basis as the investigation permits,” McFadden said. “We need to respect the survivors that have lost people to gun violence, to senseless violence. It’s about bringing justice to the people that lost family members.”
The photo and a map of crime scene locations have been given to the public through the department’s Facebook page.
McFadden announced a total of $85,000 in cash rewards is available for anyone with information that leads to an arrest. The city is offering $75,000, according to police. Stockton Crime Stoppers will pay $10,000.
Stocktonians are being asked to share any video surveillance they believe to be connected to the killings. McFadden specifically asked community members to review doorbell and home security cameras.
Police are asking people to avoid isolated areas and travel in well-lit areas, travel with a friend and call 209-937-8377 if you see suspicious activity or 911 if it’s an emergency.
It is tempting to say this is what it appears to be — and getting information from a site known for misinformation and falsehoods is always a mistake. It is important to keep in mind, however, that for Chief McFadden and Stockton PD to apprehend and bring the person or persons responsible for these shootings to justice — they must build a case based on facts. They don’t have the luxury to speculate.
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