According to court documents, a 43-year-old man was arrested on Saturday in connection with six random targeted serial killings in Stockton and Oakland. The man grew up in the Bay Area, where he lost his brother to gun violence and was arrested for selling crack cocaine just blocks away from where one of his victims was gunned down.
Wesley Brownlee, a native of the Bay Area who now resides in Stockton, was apprehended early on Saturday morning as he drove around Stockton on a “search” for an eighth victim. The police have publicly connected him to seven shootings, including five killings in Stockton this year, one in Oakland in 2021, and one in April of 2021 in which the victim survived, but he has not yet been prosecuted.
After being accused of sexual assault as a freshman in high school, Brownlee was jailed three times over the course of 20 years for selling crack cocaine in the same Oakland area where his brother and a close family member were slain in 1995. They haven’t said what they think drove Brownlee to start actively seeking out individuals to murder when he was in his early 40s, but it’s clear that whatever it was, it wasn’t love.
Brownlee was born in San Francisco, but he spent his formative years in an apartment on Seminary Avenue in East Oakland, about six blocks from where the April 2021 Oakland victim was killed down, until his mother relocated to Stockton in the late 1990s. According to court documents, Brownlee’s parents were married for 16 years but eventually divorced when he was a young teenager.
On the 5700 block of East 16th Street, in October 1995, Brownlee’s elder brother Dale Brownlee, then 17 years old, was shot and murdered in what authorities deemed a “drug-related” death. Six months before, Dale Brownlee’s close friend Kojo Upshaw, also 18 years old, was stabbed to death at the same area, according to an article from the Oakland Tribune. It is not known whether or whether any arrests were made in either incident.
Wesley Brownlee’s mother reportedly sought counseling for him when he grew unhappy and “extremely distraught” after his brother’s death, as stated in court documents. According to his academic transcript, he was identified as having a learning handicap in elementary school and left high school in his junior year. A juvenile probation officer questioned him while he was in his mid-teens, and he said that he wanted to study computer science in college and play basketball professionally in the NBA.
Brownlee was arrested in May 1994, two weeks before he turned 15, along with two other youths on suspicion of sexually abusing a 14-year-old female. Brownlee told a juvenile probation officer that he had nothing to do with the sexual assault and placed the blame on two of his pals. His mother defended him, saying that the victim didn’t name Brownlee in her first interview with police but did so in her second.
It was highlighted in Brownlee’s probation report that he “clearly suffers both natural mental limitation and psychological stress following his brother’s 1995 gunshot death.”
The report states, “He is either incapable or unwilling to accept serious responsibility for himself.” He has a hard time getting into a good routine.
A half a year later, he was arrested on narcotics charges. The juvenile court put Brownlee on house arrest with a curfew and other requirements, but they took into account the fact that his mother had a difficult, chronic medical condition and didn’t always catch him sneaking out.
In 1997, when Brownlee was 18 years old, he was arrested and accused with having 67 bindles of crack cocaine. He was first given a three-year probation term, but in 1998, he was arrested for distributing cocaine to an undercover officer and given a two-year jail sentence. According to the official documents, he delivered the notice to the inmate in San Quentin.
In 2014, Brownlee was arrested in Alameda County, California, for allegedly selling drugs on the 5800 block of East 16th Street, which is only one block away from the site where his brother had been murdered nearly two decades prior, and less than a mile from the site where Juan Vasquez Serrano had been murdered in 2021. According to his conviction and probation terms, he pled no contest and served time in prison.
Authorities in Stockton and Oakland have identified the homicide victims of 2021 and 2022 as follows: Serrano, 40, was murdered in Oakland on April 10, 2021; Paul Yaw, 35, was murdered in Stockton on July 8, 2022; Salvador Debudey Jr., 43, was murdered in Stockton on August 11, 2022; Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez, 21 was murdered in Stockton on August 30, 2022; Juan Cruz, 52, was murdered in Stockton on September 21, 2022;
On April 16, 2021, in Stockton, Brownlee is also accused of shooting and injuring a 46-year-old lady. The outcome was positive: she made it.