The search for a possible serial killer continues in Stockton. Police are looking for the person — or persons — who killed six people in the past year-and-a-half and injured another victim who survived.
Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden said Wednesday that investigators are still trying to come up with a profile of the shooter.
"We feel it's someone who's very calculating, very methodical and is really going through a lot of measures to cover up their steps that they're doing before and after," McFadden told CapRadio Insight host Vicki Gonzalez.
The shootings have happened in isolated areas late at night. Police aren't saying they're race-related, but there is a common theme. Four of the victims appear to be of Hispanic descent and some of the victims were also experiencing homelessness.
Police have so far only shared a grainy security camera video of a person of interest. The reward for information leading to an arrest has grown to $125,000.
McFadden, who is in his first year as chief in Stockton after working with the San Jose Police Department, spoke with Gonzalez about the case and his own journey.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
On the latest in the case
We are receiving a lot of tips. The community has been great. They've been very active, even before the rewards were announced. The committee was very proactive and wanting to help in any way they can. We've received a lot of videos, a lot of tips that we're trying to get through. We're working with our local, state and federal partners. We would like to get that person identified. We keep seeing this person — or whether it's a series of people — we keep seeing something similar to that at some of the scenes. We have both the ballistic evidence that linked the gun to the scenes and then we have some scenes where we're seeing this person of interest.
On what people should notice from the surveillance video
So we really want to see how this person is in the shadows. You know, they're along the walls. They're walking through apartment complexes as they leave the scene. They wear all dark clothing. We've had some indication where they may have a black coat with [a] mask on. But this person is under layers of clothing and lurks in the darkness, which makes it hard for any video footage. You have to really show a clear picture.
On what the department is doing in terms of outreach to the community
We held a town hall last week where we addressed some of these concerns and we spoke about how not to be a victim. You know, it's things we've always said, not just because we have this going on. But we've always said, you know, don't put yourself in a position where you raise the likelihood of falling victim of a violent crime or anything else. You know, we've adjusted our special operations unit and they're now working all through the night. It is very important that we try to be as visible as we can and trying to be in some of these locations where it fits the pattern of what's been occurring. We've also been passing out fliers in both Spanish and English just to encourage people to come forward and if they have any information.
On if there are certain characteristics that investigators focus on for an investigation like this
Right now, we just don't have a whole lot because we haven't had witnesses to really give us any information to lead us to determine what type of person we may be dealing with here. We feel it's someone who is very calculating, very methodical and is really going through a lot of measures to cover up the steps that they're doing before and after.
On what drew him to become Stockton's police chief
I've had a very blessed and fortunate career with the San Jose Police Department. And during my time in the police department, I've been coaching athletics in Stockton. So I've always been connected with the youth in Stockton. And it just felt like a calling. When the job was announced, it just felt like a calling for me to be here. I knew there are some concerns [about] morale being low and crime, but those are things I've always been very comfortable with and I'm just happy at the opportunity.
On being the first Black police chief in Stockton history
It means a lot to me … After the George Floyd incident, a lot of things came out about policing. And I started getting hit up, just saying, hey, not only are you in policing, but you also are a Black man, you know? And my perspective became very important for other people to hear, how it is playing both sides. We had a lot of criticism after George Floyd, and I believe it's my responsibility to be an ethical officer regardless of what race I am, and to build a culture of inclusion with our communities and supportive of diversity in the department. We should mirror the community we serve, and that's something we're working toward.
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