California serial killer: what have police said about fatal shootings in US state - what has happened so far?

Police have linked at least six killings and one attempted killing in California together, stating that it is likely to be a serial killer ‘on a mission’

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Police in California are hunting a gunman who they have described as a serial killer after six shootings in the state were linked together.

At least six men have been killed in the incidents and one woman was left wounded, after it was alleged that the serial killer was involved in all seven events. The shootings have taken place in the cities of Stockton and Oakland.

Here’s what police have said so far about the shootings.

Stockton and Oakland police have linked a spate of fatal shootings in both cities. (Credit: Getty Images)Stockton and Oakland police have linked a spate of fatal shootings in both cities. (Credit: Getty Images)
Stockton and Oakland police have linked a spate of fatal shootings in both cities. (Credit: Getty Images)

What have police said about the shootings?

The same gunman was alleged to have taken part in the incidents after ballistics tests and some video evidence linked the crimes in the two cities together. Stockton and Oakland are around 70 miles apart.

Speaking of the crimes, Stockton police chief Stanley McFadden said: “We don’t know what the motive is. What we do believe is that it’s mission-oriented. This person’s on a mission.” Police are hoping to track the shooter connected to the crimes, after they were spotted on video at several crime scenes - however no evidence has directly linked them to the shootings according to McFadden.

There is also a $125,000 (£109,000) reward for information as the police attempt to track the killer.

What has happened in Stockton and Oakland?

The alleged serial killer first targeted 39-year-old Juan Vasquez Serrano in Oakland. This attack took place at around 4.15am on 10 April 2021. He was shot multiple times and died as a result of his injuries

Days later, a woman was shot in Stockton. The 46-year-old victim survived the attack but was wounded by the bullets. The woman had been homeless at the time and told investigators that she was inside her tent at around 3.20am on 16 April 2021 when she heard someone walking outside.

When she came out of the tent, the woman saw the gunman and was shot multiple times. She was left wounded but according to police chief McFadden, no words were exchanged with the perpetrator.

A spate of other incidents in Stockton more than a year later has resulted in the death of five other men; Paul Yaw, 35, was found on 8 July 2022, Salvador Debudey, 43, was found on 11 August, Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, was found on 30 August, Juan Cruz, 52, was found 21 September, and Lawrence Lopez Sr, 54, found on 27 September. These incidents took place within a few square miles of each other.

McFadden has stated that authorities currently have “absolutely no answer as to why that pistol went dormant for over 400 days”.  According to Stockton police officer Joseph Silva, the victims did not appear to be connected or know one another - some were homeless while others were not. Police have also ruled out the attacks being related to gang warfare or drugs.

The gunman was described by the surviving victim to be wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt, dark trousers and an all-black face mask.

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