Authorities investigating the recent murders of five men in Stockton, California, now say that two other unsolved shootings that took place last year are related.
The two shootings, connected with ballistic evidence, occurred in April 2021 and left a 40-year-old Hispanic man dead and a 46-year-old Black woman wounded, the Stockton Police Department said.
Like the five most recent shootings, which occurred between July 7 and Sept. 27 this year, both incidents occurred after dark. One difference is that the man killed last year was shot in Oakland, roughly 70 miles west of Stockton.
Detectives are looking into whether any other unsolved shootings could be related, said Stockton Police Officer Joseph Silva.
“We have a team of detectives that are going back through some of our old homicides, shootings, and also starting an outreach to the different law enforcement agencies in our region to see if they have anything similar,” he told HuffPost Tuesday.
The woman who survived last year’s shooting described her attacker as being a male of unknown race with a thin build and standing 5-foot-10 to 6 feet tall. He was wearing a dark-colored hooded sweatshirt with the hood pulled up, dark-colored pants and an all-black COVID-style mask, the police department said Tuesday.
Authorities have released surveillance video that shows a person of interest in the shootings walking past the cameras with their back turned. They’re seen wearing dark-colored clothing, a hat, and what appears to be a high-collared jacket.
It’s not clear how, if at all, the individual could be related, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said at a Friday press conference.
“At this time, we don’t know if it’s a person, two or three. We just don’t know,” said McFadden. “By definition, you could probably very well call this serial killings.”
He has urged residents to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, especially after dark.
A reward for information that leads to an arrest in the shootings was boosted to $100,000 on Tuesday with the help of local businesses, police said.
Information about the killings can be submitted to 209-937-8167 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or shared anonymously at stocktoncrimestoppers.org.