By Katie Dowd
Source SFGate, San Francisco
Five seemingly unrelated murders have been linked by Stockton police, suggesting a serial killer may be operating in California.
According to police, five men have been shot and killed while walking alone. In a Friday press conference, Stockton police Chief Stanley McFadden said physical evidence connects each of the cases. "We have a series of homicides that we believe are interconnected," he said. "By definition, you could probably very well call this serial killings."
The definition of a "serial killer" has evolved since it first came into common usage in the 1970s, but it's generally used to refer to someone who has killed three or more people with breaks between each killing (compared to a mass murderer, who kills multiple people in the same incident).
McFadden said investigators have ruled out gang violence, robbery and hate crimes, leaving the motivations of the shooter or shooters unknown. Each of the victims was walking alone in a dark area when targeted, and they vary in age and race. The killings began in July, with the most recent murder occurring on Tuesday, and are clustered in the north part of Stockton near San Joaquin Delta College.
July 8 at 12:31 a.m.
- 5600 Kermit Lane
- Paul Alexander Yaw, 35
Aug. 11 at 9:49 p.m.
- 4900 West Lane
- Salvador William Dubedy Jr., 43
Aug. 30 at 6:41 a.m.
- 800 E. Hammer Lane
- Unidentified 21-year-old man
Sept. 21 at 4:27 a.m.
- 4400 Manchester Ave.
- Unidentified 52-year-old man
Sept. 27 at 1:53 a.m.
- 900 Porter Ave.
- Lorenzo Lopez, 54
KCRA spoke to the families of three of the victims. Lopez was found dead on the sidewalk in a primarily residential area on Porter Avenue. "He was there for me. He was watching out for me. I wish I could've watched out for him," brother Jerry Lopez told KCRA. Yaw, who family members say was homeless, was found dead in a park on Kermit Lane. "He was a great man with a big heart," mother Greta Bogrow said in a statement. "He was my son, a father, a grandson, nephew, cousin and brother and was loved by many."
Dubedy was shot in a parking lot on West Lane, a commercial stretch with strip malls, fast-food restaurants and gas stations. According to his wife, the family was not informed Dubedy's death may be linked to a serial killer, learning it from social media posts instead of the police.
A dedicated tip line is available at 209-937-8167, and tips can be emailed to [email protected]. Police ask that people avoid dark, "isolated" areas and walk with others, when possible.
"Our detectives and task force officers have been working around the clock on these investigations," McFadden wrote in a statement. "We are committed to protecting our community and solving these cases utilizing all the resources at our disposal including YOU. We need YOUR help!!!! If anyone, has information regarding these investigations, call us immediately. Please remember our victims have grieving family members who need resolution."
(c)2022 SFGate, San Francisco
Visit SFGate, San Francisco at www.sfgate.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.