Person Behind Stockton Murders May Be 'Hunting'

All crimes were committed in areas light on surveillance cameras
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 5, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Stockton Police on Murders: 'This Person's on a Mission'
Stockton Police show a a brief video from a surveillance camera of an image of what authorities describe as a "person of interest," in the investigation into a suspected serial killer during a news conference in Stockton, Calif., Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022.   (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Police believe there's a serial killer afoot in California, and "we don’t know what the motive is," Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Tuesday, per the AP. But "what we do believe is that it's mission-oriented, this person's on a mission." The San Francisco Chronicle reports the only evidence police have in the seven shootings (six men were killed; one woman survived) are ballistics and "indistinct videos of a man at various scenes"; he isn't shown committing any crimes, and his face isn't captured. The one surviving victim described him as wearing a COVID mask.

The first fatal shooting occurred in Oakland in April 2021, with the woman shot a few days later in Stockton. The subsequent five murders occurred within a few miles of each other in Stockton between July 8 and Sept. 27 of this year. "I have absolutely no answer as to why that pistol went dormant for over 400 days," McFadden said in reference to the gap between deaths. As for the five Stockton homicide victims, four were shot while walking alone; the fifth was in a parked car. The killings occurred at night or in the early morning, and none of the victims were robbed or beaten.

Police haven't found any links between the victims, though the particulars of the crime have some overlap: McFadden told CNN all seven were shot in dark areas that were light on surveillance cameras. That may have been planned, McFadden indicated. "We believe that perhaps this individual, or individuals, may be looking for their area during daylight to anticipate where cameras may be, and what would be the best approach." CNN Law Enforcement Analyst John Miller said the pauses between victims suggests the killer may "be mature and somewhat patient. ... He likely 'hunts' regularly and strikes when everything is just right: single victim, no witnesses in the immediate area, likely an area without video coverage." (Read more serial killers stories.)

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