Five recent murders in Stockton, California, over the last three months are believed to be connected, authorities said Friday while announcing an $85,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.
All five male victims, between the ages of 21 and 54, were fatally shot while walking alone in the evening or early morning hours. Four of the five victims were Hispanic, though Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said there’s no indication that it’s a hate crime.
The shootings, which McFadden said appear to involve an “element of surprise,” started on July 8 with the death of a 35-year-old man. The most recent killing was Tuesday and took the life of the oldest victim, 54.
“We have a series of homicides that we believe are interconnected,” McFadden said at a press conference. “By definition, you could probably very well call this serial killings.”
Police have released an image showing what they said is a “person of interest” in the killings, though authorities said it remains unclear how this person could be involved, if at all. It’s also unclear whether there could be more than one person involved.
“At this time we don’t know if it’s a person, two or three. We just don’t know,” McFadden said.
He urged residents to stay alert and aware of their surroundings, especially if alone and it’s after dark.
Information about the killings can be submitted to 209-937-8167 or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or shared anonymously at stocktoncrimestoppers.org.
The city of Stockton is offering a $75,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest, and Stockton Crime Stoppers is offering $10,000, totaling $85,000 in reward money.