Community reacts to arrest of man in connection with Stockton serial killings

A Stockton man was arrested in connection to a series of killings in the city — and one in Oakland — on Saturday, and residents are breathing a sigh of relief.

Cristl Phillips, a lifelong Stockton resident, said she feels "much better" knowing an arrest has been made. She said the news hits close to home, as her daughter lives in the area where the man was arrested.

"He was literally on the hunt in my child's neighborhood, and [she] could have very easily been his next victim, so I thank the Lord he was captured," Phillips said.

Phillips said that while the city has always had high crime rates, serial killings are "not very common."

"We as a community need to thank each other for our vigilance ... as well as our law enforcement agencies," Phillips said. "Three weeks after making the connection, they took this monster down and we can all sleep more peacefully tonight."

Wesley Brownlee, 43, of Stockton was arrested early Saturday morning, Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden announced at an Oct. 15 news conference. He's yet to be charged with a crime and is expected in court Tuesday.

"Just because an arrest was made does not mean the investigation stops," McFadden said. "We now have to have a successful prosecution for our victims and their families."

Brownlee was taken into custody at about 2 a.m. Saturday near Village Green Drive and Winslow Way, McFadden said. He added that Brownlee was wearing dark clothing and a mask around his neck, and was also armed with a firearm.

"The arrest of the serial killer is an absolute victory for the victims, their families, and our community at large," Renee Myers of Stockton said.

Myers runs Stockton Serial Killer Community News and Information, a members-only Facebook group created to share tips and express concerns regarding the recent series of killings. Nearly 4,000 members have joined the group since it was created on Oct. 5.

"Going into this, there was no doubt in my mind that the community would play an integral part of the investigation, capture and prosecution of this killer," Myers said.

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The public has been on high alert since Sept. 30 when McFadden announced that police are investigating a person of interest in connection with five similar fatal shootings that have occurred across north Stockton over the past several months.

The five shootings police are investigating as part of the series of connected killings occurred north of the Calaveras River and east of I-5 between July 8 and Sept. 27.

Police later linked two additional shootings — one fatal — that occurred in April 2021 in Oakland and Stockton to the series of connected killings under investigation.

Brownlee is scheduled to be arraigned in San Joaquin County Superior Court at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday. But there are still some Stockton residents who refuse to let their guard down.

"I don't think it's him," Ronnie Fernandez of Stockton said. "I am continuing to be safe and cautious."

Fernandez said she doesn't believe Brownlee looks like the person of interest police identified in surveillance video footage in late September and questioned how police were able to catch him "so fast."

Maria Olivera of Stockton was also doubtful. She, like Fernandez, said she will remain vigilant when she goes out.

"I think maybe he's still out there," Olivera said. "I don't think it's certain it's the right person."

Record reporter Hannah Workman covers news in Stockton and San Joaquin County. She can be reached at or on Twitter @byhannahworkman. Support local news, subscribe to The Stockton Record at

This article originally appeared on The Record: Stockton residents react to man's arrest in connection with serial killings