Photo: Images of 43-year-old Wesley Brownlee and the weapon that Stockton Police recovered from him are displayed during a news conference Saturday at Stockton Police Headquarters. Brownlee is suspected in a series of killings that have claimed six lives in Stockton and Oakland. (Photo by Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)
A Stockton man arrested in connection with a string of shooting deaths in the city will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon. Here’s a timeline of events in the case and what’s led to this point in the investigation.
Wesley Brownlee, 43, was arrested early Saturday morning by Stockton police just two weeks after the department announced a string of shootings that took six lives — five in Stockton and one in Oakland — and injured another victim may be the work of a serial killer.
Brownlee was booked into the county jail Saturday afternoon and is being held without bail, according to online jail records. He will be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. in Stockton.
San Joaquin County District Attorney Tori Verber Salazar thanked local, state and federal law and government agencies that assisted in the case, as well as the community at large, for bringing to the victims.
“This crime was solved because we’re Stocktonians,” Verber Salazar said at a press conference announcing Brownlee’s arrest Saturday afternoon. “Because you don’t come to our house and bring this kind of reign of terror.”
According to online San Joaquin County Jail data, Brownlee is currently facing five felony charges, including a felon or addict in possession of a firearm, a prohibited person owning or possessing ammunition, carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, carrying a loaded weapon in public and one charge of felony murder.
A press conference will be held following the arraignment to officially announce the charges against Brownlee, as well as address any likely additional charges that may be filed, Verber Salazar said.
Homicide cases can often takes years to make their way through the court system before a verdict is reached. Therefore, it’s likely that Ron Freitas will take over prosecution of the case in January. Freitas defeated Verber Salazar this summer in her bid for a third term as the county’s DA.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families, and the suspect’s reign of terror in our community has come to an end,” Freitas said Saturday at the press conference. “As the incoming district attorney, I look forward to prosecuting him to the fullest extent of the law.”
Police announced last month that more than half a dozen shootings in Stockton and Oakland were likely the work of the same person or persons.
Seven shootings — six in Stockton and one in Oakland — since April of 2021 were determined by authorities to be connected through both ballistics data and the general circumstances of how the crimes occurred, police officials previously said. All the victims, six of whom died, were shot during the night or early morning while alone in dimly lit areas lacking any camera surveillance.
A majority of the victims were Hispanic men with an average age of 42, said. A majority were also homeless.
Brownlee was arrested through through what Stockton Police chief Stanley McFadden described as community tips and “good old fashioned police work.”
Police say the suspect was under surveillance at his home before being followed and ultimately apprehended. Brownlee was allegedly displaying a pattern of behavior deemed threatening to the community just before his arrest.
“He was out hunting,” McFadden said.
To get caught up, here’s Stocktonia’s coverage of the city’s possible serial killer:
I am concerned with 209 Time’s attempt to interject itself into this investigation. It appears they are targeting Chief McFadden, suggesting he was withholding vital information from the public. Such baseless and reckless claims could be used by a defense attorney to discredit SPD’s investigation. Give the public trust and support the Chief has earned, targeting him as they have so many other political figures would be a big mistake!
Great article and reporting.
One suggestion: make the timeline clickable, the small print under the dates is simply not legible. Or make this timeline more of an infographic’s carousel.
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