Stockton serial killer: Central Valley farmworkers voice concern after 5 victims ID'd as Latino men

ByJ.R. Stone and Anser Hassan via KGO logo
Thursday, October 6, 2022
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Hispanic farmworker addressed their concerns, as five of the six murder victims of the possible Stockton serial killer were Hispanic.

STOCKTON, Calif. -- On most afternoons, it is not unusual to see people fishing along Stockton's downtown waterfront, like Bruce Herron.

"We see people fishing here daytime, or at night. A lot of the guys come down here. We make lunch. Enjoy the day," said Herron.

The 59-year-old Herron is employed, but has been down on his luck. Some nights he finds himself out on the streets.

His fear is that the Stockton serial killer has targeted people who are alone, often sleeping in tents or cars. And most of the victims are Latino. Herron, who identifies as Hispanic, says that adds to his concerns.

"Best thing I could say is if you go out, go to work in the morning, go with somebody or start carpooling. Because if he is going to be out there killing people, until he gets caught, everybody is at risk," said Herron.

Stockton police say ballistics tests link the serial killer to seven shootings. Six were fatal, including a man in Oakland. Five of the shootings happened since July 8.

Officials says all the victims were ambushed. None were robbed. And there is no evidence of drugs or gang violence.

Police released surveillance video of what they call "a person of interest."

VIDEO: Police search for apparent serial killer tied to 6 murders in California, victims' IDs released

"We've seen this 'person of interest' on more than one of the incidents. So, it is absolutely someone we want to talk to and need to talk to," explained Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden.

Ted Leland is CEO of the Stockton Shelter for the Homeless. The organization houses 280 people every night.

"All of us who work in homeless services are concerned about the safety of the people who are on the street. It is not safe out there," said Leland.

None of the victims were his clients. But he says their organization has been in contact with Stockton police.

"We are a little bit more on alert. If we had an incident now, we might respond a little more quickly that have in the past," he said.

"One of the incidents happened around the corner from where I live, so it hits home pretty close," said a mother who only wanted to be identified by "Michelle."

She said she will be talking to family and friends to come up with a safety plan. As she puts it, she is even afraid to put the garbage out.

"You never know, if someone of driving by, could it be that person. Or going out for a walk. It is a little terrifying," she said.

"We're scared right now!"

"They're waiting for their ride outside their home. They're in danger because there alone outside waiting for their ride!"

Translators describing the concerns of Hispanic farmworkers who attended this Wednesday night community crime meeting in Stockton.

Concerns at a time when police say there five of the six murder victims were Hispanic.

Emiliano Hernandez is a farmworker who leaves his home early in the morning, around the time when police say the possible serial killer has murdered. He is fearful for himself and his loved ones who work in the fields.

"My family, my coworkers, sister, brother," said Hernandez.

Others at this meeting have similar worries.

"As a neighborhood captain on my street yesterday, a lot of neighbors came to talk to me, what are we going to do about this, that's why I'm here," said Zoyla Moreno who is a Stockton resident.

Stockton Police Chief Stanley McFadden and Mayor Kevin Lincoln spoke about all crimes in Stockton at the meeting, but it took well over an hour to hear any sort of safety recommendation in light of the ambush killings.

"Nothing good is happening after dark. If you have to be out, be with someone, be in a lighted area. We're all concerned about what's going on but all the time you need to be concerned about your surroundings," said McFadden.

The chief says that the FBI, ATF, and numerous other agencies are involved in this multi-murder investigation.

"We're going to do everything we can to get this person or persons of interest," said Lincoln.

The police chief says the community is responding, saying that on Wednesday they received 100 tips alone.

Stockton police say they still don't know of any motive and that they are working with state and federal officials on this case.

A $125,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to an arrest.