Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden thanked several local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as the Stockton community, for their help in making the arrest.
The arrest happened through community tips and “old-fashioned police work,” according to McFadden.
The chief said that a surveillance team followed the suspect, Wesley Brownlee, 43, while he was driving. Officials watched his patterns and “determined early this morning that he was out looking to kill… he was hunting.”
The suspect was stopped by police around 2 a.m. McFadden said that when he was arrested he had a mask around his neck and was found with a firearm.
“We are sure we stopped another killing,” McFadden said.
Police had been searching for a man clad in black who was caught on video at several crime scenes in Stockton, where five men were ambushed and shot to death between July 8 and Sept. 27. Four were walking, and one was in a parked car – all very late at night or early in the morning.
Police believe the same person was responsible for killing a man 70 miles away in Oakland in April 2021 and wounding a homeless woman in Stockton a week later.
Investigators were trying to identify a motive for the attacks. Police said some victims were homeless, but not all. None were beaten or robbed, and the woman who survived said her attacker didn’t say anything.
Stockton Mayor Kevin Lincoln shared his thanks to the community’s help and support through numerous tips.
“Thank you for everything that you have done,” Lincoln said. “Thank you for stepping up, thank you for exercising your voice, thank you for submitting the hundreds of tips that have come in on a daily basis.”
Six total shootings in Stockton and one in Oakland have been linked to the series of killings.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.