MORE details continue to emerge in the Stockton serial killings as cops say the suspect carefully planned the murders and surveyed the area for cameras.
The news comes as more information about the victims has been shared by devastated family members.
On Tuesday, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said that the recent killings meet the definition of a serial killer.
The bombshell update came after the cases were interconnected with ballistics evidence found at the scene of the murders.
All seven murders occurred in dark areas where there weren’t many cameras.
McFadden told CNN on Tuesday that the victims were “alone, often caught off guard, or maybe relaxing in a vehicle or walking alone in almost pitch darkness.”
The police chief also shared the belief that the suspect may have canvassed the area before the killings.
“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,” McFadden told the outlet.
As police in Stockton continue to investigate, new details have emerged about the victims.
The first known victim was Juan Vasquez Serrano, 39, who was shot several times in Oakland around 4.15am on April 10, 2021.
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The second victim – an unnamed black woman – survived after a man dressed all in black ambushed her and fired several shots on April 16.
She described the suspect as being five-foot-10-inches to six-feet tall and wearing a “Covid” type black mask.
The woman, 46, said that the suspect said nothing to her before shooting at her.
The next five homicides occurred on July 8, August 11, August 30, September 21, and September 27, the Stockton Police Department previously said.
The victims were identified as Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, Salvador William Debudey Jr., 43, Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, Juan Cruz, 52, and Lorenzo Lopez, 52.
‘IT’S BEEN REALLY, REALLY HARD’
Yaw’s estranged mother, Greta Bogrow, told NBC News that her son, who was killed in Stockton on July 8, had been homeless for five years.
“I have always hoped in my heart that at some point we would get reunited and have a relationship,” Bogrow told the outlet.
“It’s always a mom’s dream that their children turn out to be good people. He was a good person. I just wish I had the opportunity to speak to him again in this life.”
She is hoping for an arrest soon, telling NBC that whoever is responsible is a “really sick person” and is “preying on the weak.”
“My son had a big heart. He didn’t want to ever hurt anybody. … I don’t understand what kind of mind this person might have.
“I hope that all of this publicity brings this person in to get some kind of justice for what he has done to my son and all the other victims and their families.
“I just hope it gets him off the street and stops him from doing this to anybody else.”
Salvador William Debudey Jr was killed on August 11.
Similar to Lorenzo Lopez, Debudey was a father and a Stockton native.
“It’s caused a lot of pain, a lot of pain to our family,” Analydia Lopez, Debudey’s wife, told NBC affiliate KCRA.
The two had known each other for 28 years and had been married for 12.
“To be honest with you, a part of me died with him that day,” Analydia said.
“It’s been hard. It’s been really, really hard.”
‘HARD TO PROCESS’
The youngest victim, Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, was shot dead in his car on August 30.
He was born in Stockton, and his funeral was held on September 11, family members told KCRA.
Juan Cruz, 52, was murdered on September 21.
No additional information on Cruz was immediately available.
Jerry Lopez spoke about his brother, victim Lawrence “Lorenzo” Lopez, telling NBC that he left behind six children ages 16 to 38.
Lopez Sr, 54, was ambushed in a residential area shortly before 2am on September 27.
Jerry said Lorenzo was an independent contractor who had become homeless and didn’t want to “burden” people who had offered to help him.
“He’d rather be taking care of himself than have other people take care of him,” his brother said.
He “was just a person who was out here at the wrong place, at the wrong time, at the wrong circumstance,” his brother, Jerry Lopez, told KXTV-TV.
“It’s hard to process that this has happened.”
Police have assembled a team of detectives, task force officers, camera room operators, and crime analysts to solve the crimes.
While releasing the new video of the person of interest, the police chief asked the public to note the way the person walks, their posture, and their stride.
Police said in their Tuesday update that the person of interest has been photographed and filmed by security cameras on “more than one occasion.”
Cops previously released a grainy image of the person of interest.
“This is very concerning,” said Mayor Kevin Lincoln II.
“We don’t know if there’s one individual or a series of individuals that are responsible for these homicides.”
All of the victims were identified as Hispanic men and the police chief said on Tuesday that it’s “possible” the killer is targeting Hispanic males.
McFadden said that he felt the pattern was significant enough to warn the public in a recent press conference.
He elaborated further on the chilling overlaps between the cases, per Newsweek, saying: “We do see some similarity where it’s really areas of darkness.
“It’s really areas where the person is by themselves, maybe not even knowing it’s coming, and that’s kind of what [we’re] looking into in some of the most recent ones.
“People are by themselves, they don’t have that situational awareness that we would like for folks to have.”
None of the victims were robbed, and all the crimes occurred when the victims were alone in areas that lacked security cameras.
The police chief also warned the public to avoid traveling alone in the dark and journeying through isolated places.
“I know that’s put a lot of folks on edge, hearing that out there,” McFadden said.
“We are seeing some patterns and similarities in some of our more recent homicides where we’re taking a closer look at.”
There is now a reward of more than $125,000 for information leading to an arrest after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms donated $25,000 to the fund.
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