Police on Monday continue to search for a person of interest in a series of five fatal shootings in Stockton, California, that are believed to be interconnected.
“By definition, you could probably very well call this serial killings,” Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Friday.
An unidentified person captured on grainy security video could be a suspect or a witness, police said, and others may be involved in the five attacks that have happened since July.
McFadden said all of the slayings have happened after dark and in areas with few security cameras. Each of the attacks has involved a single victim.
“It wasn’t a robbery,” he said. “Items aren’t being stolen. They’re not talking about any gang activity in the area or anything. It’s just, element of surprise.”
The city is offering a $75,000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and an additional $10,000 was put up by Stockton Crime Stoppers.
On Monday, the Office of the Medical Examiner in San Joaquin County released the names of the victims: Paul Alexander Yaw, 35, of Stockton who died on July 8; Salvador Debudey, Jr., 43, of Stockton who died on Aug. 11; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21, of Stockton who died Aug. 30; Juan Cruz, 52, of Stockton who died on Sept. 21 and Lawrence Lopez Sr., 54, of Stockton who died on Sept. 27.
Stockton police spokesperson Joe Silva said Monday investigators need the community’s help to solve the slayings.
“We do have grieving family members that are asking a lot of questions and they want closure,” he said. “We are just hoping that someone will do the right thing and report that information to our detectives.”
Paul Alexander Yaw
Greta Bogrow, 60, of Texas, told NBC News on Monday her son Paul Alexander Yaw was killed July 8 in the northern California city. Yaw’s death and four subsequent fatal shootings appear “interconnected,” police said.
Bogrow said she’s been estranged from her son, who was homeless for about five years.
“I have always hoped in my heart that at some point we would get reunited and have a relationship,” she said. “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.”
Bogrow said she’s been in touch with detectives about her son’s death. She can’t fathom how someone can commit such senseless slayings. She said her son was at a park when he was attacked.
“They are a really sick person. And they are preying on the weak,” she said. “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.”
She said whoever is responsible for the slayings must be arrested quickly.
“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,” Bogrow said. “I just hope it gets him off the street and stops him from doing this to anybody else.”
Lawrence Lopez Sr.
Jerry Lopez, 53, said his brother, Lawrence, went by the nickname “Lorenzo.”
Lorenzo Lopez was a father of six, whose children ranged in ages from 16 to 38, his brother said.
Jerry Lopez said his older brother worked as an independent contractor and had fallen into homelessness. He said many people offered for his brother to stay with them, but he didn’t want to “burden” people.
“He’d rather be taking care of himself than have other people take care of him,” Jerry Lopez said.
He said the siblings lived in Stockton since they were in elementary school.
“No city should have to deal with this,” Jerry Lopez said. “This thing needs to end. It’s scary for our city.”
He added, “It’s just hard to think why a person would even get this way. But there are people out there having hard times and troubled minds.”
Salvador Debudey Jr.
NBC affiliate KCRA of Sacramento reported that Analydia Lopez, Debudey’s wife, said his slaying has devastated her.
“To be honest with you, a part of me died with him that day,” Lopez said. “It’s been hard. It’s been really, really hard.”
The news outlet reported Debudey was a father and he and Lopez met 28 years ago when they were in high school. The pair reconnected later in life and were married 12 years when he was slain in August.
Relatives of the remaining two dead men were not immediately reached Monday.
Antonio Planas is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital.