Ballistics test link one weapon to six killings in Stockton serial homicide case, chief says

Ballistics tests link the serial killings terrorizing Stockton to the same weapon, Stockton’s police chief said Tuesday, briefing reporters on the deadly shootings.

Six people are dead; another, an Oakland woman, was shot and wounded by the same weapon. Police Chief Stanley McFadden said the tests “interconnect these cases.”

Among the developments ballistics revealed, the 448-day break between the second and third victims and the rapidly closing gaps between victims thereafter: 34 days, then 19, then just six days as the death toll continued to mount.

“We have no reason why the pistol went dormant” for so long, McFadden said. But, the chief later added, “This person is on a mission.”

The deadly shootings have no clear pattern, McFadden said initially. Toward the end of the briefing, the chief said, “There is a certain complexion this person is targeting,” but said there was not enough evidence to consider the shootings as motivated by hate.

McFadden also said police aren’t certain if this is a person or several people behind the homicides.

Some of the victims were Hispanic men in their early 40s, McFadden said. The pattern grows more random afterward: “Male, female, different races. We have folks who live in the home, folks who don’t live in the home,” the police chief said. The Oakland victim, a Black woman shot near a homeless encampment, survived her wounds.

The serial shooter has not been found, even as a task force and teams of investigators work around the clock on the case and bring in tips from across the community. On Tuesday, police made a QR code and website available for the public to submit tips.

The Stockton Police Department has made public a QR for the public to submit tips for a person of interest in connection with several homicides in the city.
The Stockton Police Department has made public a QR for the public to submit tips for a person of interest in connection with several homicides in the city.

The department also raised the reward for information leading to an arrest to $95,000.

“People are serious about this. We are bringing our skills, knowledge and ability to bring capture to this person,” McFadden said.

But Stockton authorities now hope a newly released video of a shadowy figure, 5-foot-10 to 6 feet, with an even stride and exaggeratedly upright posture walking across the frame, provides another clue.

In this undated surveillance image released by the Stockton Police Department, a grainy still image of a “person of interest,” dressed all in black and wearing a black cap, who appeared in videos from several of the homicide crime scenes in Stockton. Ballistics tests have linked the fatal shootings of six men and the wounding of one woman in California— all potentially at the hands of a serial killer — in crimes going back more than a year, police said Monday. (Stockton Police Department via AP)
In this undated surveillance image released by the Stockton Police Department, a grainy still image of a “person of interest,” dressed all in black and wearing a black cap, who appeared in videos from several of the homicide crime scenes in Stockton. Ballistics tests have linked the fatal shootings of six men and the wounding of one woman in California— all potentially at the hands of a serial killer — in crimes going back more than a year, police said Monday. (Stockton Police Department via AP)

“Pay attention to his even stride,” McFadden said, noting the man’s “extremely upright and noticeable posture.”

Although McFadden said there was no evidence connecting the man to the crimes, the man is “a person we’re interested in talking to.”

“We’ve seen this person in more than one instance. He’s someone we want to talk to.”