Who is Wesley Brownlee? Alleged Stockton serial killer has a long rap sheet, lost brother to gun violence
STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA: California police arrested Wesley Brownlee, who is believed to be the Stockton serial killer, on October 15. According to the authorities, Brownlee, 43, was caught just when he was about to take another life. It has now been revealed he has a significant criminal history and lost his brother to gun violence almost three decades ago.
According to a Daily Mail report, Stanley McFadden, the chief of police in Stockton, California, stated on Saturday, October 15, "Early this morning he was on a mission to kill, he was out hunting." The chief continued, "He was wearing dark clothing and had a mask around his neck. He was also armed with a firearm when he was taken into custody. We are sure we stopped another killing." Brownlee is suspected of terrorizing the community for over a year.
Homicide Series Update: Wesley Brownlee, 43, was arrested this morning in Stockton in connection to our homicide series investigation. During a press conference, Chief McFadden said Wesley was out hunting and we prevented another killing from happening. pic.twitter.com/u0KfKmbhXZ— Stockton Police Dept (@StocktonPolice) October 15, 2022
Brownlee's first alleged murder took place on April 21 of last year, and his most recent 'hunt' was less than a month before his arrest. His first victim was Miguel Vasquez Serrano, 39, who died in East Oakland last April. The next victim wasn't killed until early July of this year. Paul Yaw, 35, was killed on July 8; Salvador Debudey Jr, 43, on August 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, on August 30; and Juan Cruz, 52, on September 21. Most recently, he is accused of killing Lawrence Lopez Sr, who died on September 27. Stockton police Chief Stanley McFadden explained that the unsolved homicides between July 8 and September 27 happened in the dark when the victims were alone. Four of the five victims were Hispanics between the ages of 21 and 54, as reported by ABC7.
According to East Bay Times, court documents from Brownlee's early life depict an image of a troubled teenager. He was accused of sexual assault as a high school freshman and was detained three times for selling crack cocaine over a 20-year period in the same Oakland neighborhood where his brother and a close family friend were both killed in 1995.
Brownlee was born in San Francisco but lived in an apartment on Seminary Avenue in East Oakland as a child until the late 1990s, when his mother moved to Stockton, just six blocks from the scene of the April 2021 shooting. According to court documents, Brownlee's parents cohabited intermittently for 16 years before divorcing when he was a young teen.
His brother Dale Brownlee, 17, was shot and killed on the 5700 block of East 16th Street in October 1995, when Wesley was just 16. He was the victim of a "drug-related" killing, according to the police. Dale's close friend Kojo Upshaw, 18, was fatally stabbed at the same location six months prior, according to a report from the Oakland Tribune at the time. Neither incident appears to have involved any arrests.
According to court documents, Wesley Brownlee suffered from depression and was "very distressed" after his brother passed away, which prompted his mother to seek therapy for him. He left high school as a junior after receiving a learning disability diagnosis in elementary school, records reveal.
Court records also show Brownlee and two other boys were detained in May 1994, just two weeks before his 15th birthday, on suspicion of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl. Brownlee denied involvement in the sexual assault during interviews with a juvenile probation officer and placed the blame on his two friends.
KCRA reported that public records show Brownlee's excessive criminal history. In 1997, he was arrested in Alameda County for possessing a "cocaine base," also known as crack. Officers assumed he intended to sell it. The offense earned him two years in state prison. Brownlee was arrested and convicted for the same crime in Alameda County again, and this time he was sentenced to three years in prison. As per the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, he was released on parole again in May 2003 and discharged in May 2006. According to public records, he was arrested in San Joaquin County on DUI charges in 2021 and 2022, as well as two traffic violations. In 2014, Brownlee pleaded "no contest" in Alameda County after being charged with cocaine possession for the second time. He was sentenced to 16 days in jail and five years probation in San Joaquin County. In 2019, Brownlee was cited as he failed to stop at the port of entry in Arizona. An East Bay Times report states that Brownlee is also charged with shooting and injuring a 46-year-old woman on April 16, 2021, in Stockton. She survived.