Police continued to search for a person of interest Monday Five fatal shootings in Stockton, California are believed to be related.
“By definition, you could call this a serial killing,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Friday.
An unidentified man captured on automated security video may be a suspect or witness, police said, adding that others may have been involved in the five attacks since July.
McFadden said the killings all happened after dark and in areas with few security cameras. Each attack involved a victim.
“It’s not a robbery,” he said. “Things are not stolen. They didn’t talk about any gang activity or anything in that area. It’s just an element of surprise. “
The city is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and Stockton Crime Stoppers has offered an additional $10,000.
The San Joaquin County Medical Examiner’s Office released the names of the victims Monday: Paul Alexander Yao, 35, of Stockton, who died July 8; Salvador Debute, Jr., 43, of Stockton, died Aug. 11. Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, of Stockton, died Aug. 30. Juan Cruz, 52, of Stockton, died Sept. 21. and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, of Stockton, died Sept. 27.
Authorities have not released the name of a 40-year-old Latino man who was shot and killed shortly before 4:20 a.m. on April 10, 2021, in Oakland.
Stockton police spokesman Joe Silva said Monday investigators needed the community’s help.
“We have grieving family members who are asking a lot of questions and they want closure,” she said. “We’re hoping someone will do the right thing and pass that information on to our detectives.”
Paul Alexander Yao
Greta Pogro, 60, of Texas, said Monday that her son, Paul Alexander Yao, was killed July 8 in the northern California city. Yau’s death and four subsequent fatal shootings appear to be “connected.”
Pokro said he is estranged from his son, who has been homeless for about five years.
“I always believed in my heart that at some point we would get back together and have a relationship,” she said. “A mother’s dream is for her children to become good. He was a good man. I wish I had the chance to speak with him again in this life.
Pogro said she has been in contact with detectives about her son’s death. She couldn’t understand how someone could commit such senseless murders. She said her son was in the park when he was attacked.
“They are really sick. They prey on the weak,” he said. “My son had a big heart. He didn’t want to hurt anyone. … I don’t understand what kind of mentality this person has.
He said that those responsible for this should be arrested quickly.
“I hope that all of this publicity will bring this man to justice for what he did to my son and the other victims and their families,” Pokro said. “I hope this gets him off the street and prevents anyone else from doing this.”
Lawrence Lopez Sr
Jerry Lopez, 53, was nicknamed “Lorenzo” by his brother Lawrence.
Lorenzo Lopez is the father of six children, ranging in age from 16 to 38, his brother said.
Jerry Lopez said his older brother worked as an independent contractor and fell into homelessness. He said many people offered to accommodate his brother but he did not want to “burden” people.
“He’d rather take care of himself than have other people take care of him,” Jerry Lopez said.
She said they had lived in Stockton since elementary school.
“No city should have to deal with this,” Jerry Lopez said. “This matter must come to an end. Our town is afraid,” he said.
He added: “It’s hard to think why a person would go down this path. But there are people who have hard times and mental turmoil.
Salvador Debute Jr.
Sacramento’s NBC affiliate KCRA Analitia Lopez, Depute’s wife, said his killing left her devastated.
“To be honest with you, a part of me died with him that day,” Lopez said. “It was hard. It was really hard.”
The station reported that Debute is a father and that he and Lopez met 28 years ago while in high school. The couple reunited later in life and had been married for 12 years when he was killed in August.
Relatives of the remaining two deceased could not immediately be reached on Monday.
Madeleine Ureb Contributed.