With Six Dead, Cops Say Stockton Serial Killer is ‘On a Mission’

Ballistics show the same gun was used in the murders of 6 men—5 in the last three months—and the wounding of one woman

Investigators believe a serial killer who seemingly went dormant for more than a year has now murdered at least five men in the last three months and is “on a mission.”

At a Tuesday press conference, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden told reporters, “We don’t know what the motive is. What we do believe is that it’s mission-oriented. This person’s on a mission.”

McFadden began his statements by addressing what he called “the big question”—is Stockton dealing with a serial killer?

“By definition, these shootings are a series of killings,” he said. “So we believe we could have a potential serial killer, that’s how we’re going to treat it as such.”

Ballistic testing showed that the seven shootings were all carried out with the same weapon, according to police. The first known victim was 40-year-old Juan Miguel Vasquez Serrano, who was shot to death in Oakland on April 10, 2021, followed by a 46-year-old woman who was shot in Stockton just six days later and is the sole survivor, KCRA reports. The other five murders all occurred between July 8 and September 27 of this year in Stockton.

McFadden emphasized, “At this time, we don’t know if it’s a person or persons.” As to the long gap between the first two shootings and the next five, he said, “I have absolutely no answer as to why that pistol went dormant for over 400 days.”

Police also released surveillance footage of someone McFadden called “a person of interest” without saying if they are a suspect or a witness, explaining only that “it’s a person we’re interested in talking to.” He asked viewers to “pay close attention to the uneven stride that this person has” to help identify them.

It’s unclear what the deceased have in common beyond being men between the ages of 21 and 52, and that they were all killed at night. None were robbed or beaten, according to police.

McFadden said in a statement on Friday, “These incidents are occurring in the hours of darkness, these incidents are occurring where folks are alone by themselves, not in lit areas.”

The other victims have been identified as: Paul Yaw, 35, murdered July 8, Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, who was murdered on August 11, 21 year-old Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, killed on August 30, and Juan Cruz, 52, and Lawrence Lopez, 52, who were shot to death on September 21 and Sept. 27.

Stockton City Manager Harry Black also announced at Tuesday’s conference that the reward “for information that leads directly to the capture of this person” has been raised to $115,000.

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