Five people have been fatally shot over the course of three months in Stockton, California. Police are also connecting these cases to another that happened one year prior. A great number of people in Santa Barbara do not even know that there is a serial killer in our state, let alone only 340 miles away. There was also one survivor who is the only victim of this killer who managed to survive so far. Read on to find out more about the case itself, the survivor’s story and the victims that were at the wrong place at the wrong time.
The serial killer in Stockton has shot and killed five people: Paul Alexander Yaw (35), Salvador Debudey (43), Jonathan Hernandez Rodriguez (21), Juan Cruz (52), and Lawrence Lopez (54). All were killed in the extremely late to early hours of the day. Most of these men that were killed were Hispanic, but police are stating that these are not the types of killings that would classify as a hate crime.
Looking at the ballistic reports, the gun used against the victims are of a similar make and model to the weapon used in an unclosed case one year prior. A man, Juan Vasquez Serrano (39), was shot and killed in Oakland, California on April 10th at 4:18am. There was also a woman in Stockton, California, Natasha LaTour (46), who was shot 9 times and survived her injuries.
“I wanted to survive and then as I did that [ran towards killer] he got down, like a movie star pose, because at first he was just holding the gun like a thug,” said victim Natasha La Tour.
Natasha LaTour has been the only survivor of the Stockton serial killer so far. It happened during the early hours of the morning when she was walking along the street and heard the sound of crunching gravel behind her. When she turned around, she saw someone with dark jeans, an unzipped, dark jacket, and a mask covering his entire nose and face, showing only his eyes. The gun was already pointed towards her when she turned around, which was when the killer decided to start shooting. She decided to run toward the killer because running away would not have done her any good as she was still going to be left out in the open. After the killer fled, she lay there in the street, blood pooling around her body, just wanting to go to sleep. She said she heard a voice, her grandmother’s (deceased) voice telling her to start moving. So she crawled toward the street where she was soon noticed by a person who then called 911. She later gave her report to the authorities.
Three days after the last victim was killed on September 27, the Stockton police chief, Stanley McFadden, had a press conference, covered by ABC News
“We don’t know what the motive is. …This person’s on a mission. It just appears to be very fluid and intentional,” said Stockton police chief Stanley McFadden.
This means that there is a possibility that all of these victims were sought out by the killer. The last time California had a serial killer was from 1997-2001; a man named Timothy Joseph McGhee, also known as the ‘Monster of Atwater’. He was responsible for the murder and attempted murder against 12 people and was also apart of a gang, the Toonerville Rifa 13 gang. He was arrested in 2003 and sentenced in 2009. But for McGhee’s case, he was already a suspect, while the Stockton serial killer case has had no real leads or suspects so far.
Whatever this killer has in mind, he is not done yet. Anyone in Stockton and California in general should watch themselves and try to limit being outside during the late hours of the day. People should invest in safety key chains or pepper spray, or anything to defend yourself if you need to.