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California police seek 'person of interest' in 'series of homicides'

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California police are searching for a “person of interest” after five men are believed to have been killed by the same person in a “series of homicides” since early July. Photo courtesy of Stockton Police Department
California police are searching for a “person of interest” after five men are believed to have been killed by the same person in a “series of homicides” since early July. Photo courtesy of Stockton Police Department

Oct. 3 (UPI) -- California police are searching for a "person of interest" after five men are believed to have been killed by the same person in a "series of homicides" since early July.

The killings all happened in just over 2 square miles within the Lakeview and Valley Oak districts in the city of Stockton, which has a population of about 320,000 people and is located 80 miles east of San Francisco.

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The Stockton Police Department released little details about the murders and stopped short of describing them as having been carried out by a serial killer. Police have also not ruled out if more than one suspect was involved.

A surveillance photo showing the person of interest from behind was released as police announced that they are offering an $85,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

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Police also shared a map of the locations where the five men were found dead. Matching those locations with previous watch commander reporters from the Stockton Police Department, further details were revealed.

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In the watch commander reports, Stockton Police said the murders all happened late at night or in the early morning hours, and that all of the men were shot dead.

The names of the victims, who ranged in age from 21 to 54, were not revealed by police. Four of the men were described as Hispanic males and one was described as a White male.

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Police said that the first of the homicides, in which a 35-year-old man was killed, occurred in the 5600 block of Kermit Lane in the Lakeview district on July 8 around 12:31 a.m. The victim was transported to a local hospital where he died from his injuries.

That victim was identified to ABC News as Paul Alexander Yaw by his mother, Greta Bogrow, who called her son a "good boy who grew into a good man with a big heart."

A 43-year-old man was killed in the second homicide around 11:49 p.m. in the 4900 block of West Lane in the Valley Oak district. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

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Then, a 21-year-old man was shot dead at 6:41 a.m. on Aug. 30 at in the 800 block of E. Hammer Lane in the Valley Oak district.

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More than three weeks later, the fourth victim, a 52-year-old man, was shot dead at 4:27 a.m. on August 11 in the 4400 block of Manchester Avenue in the Lakeview district.

The fifth victim, a 54-year-old man, was shot dead around 1:51 a.m. in the 900 block of Porter Avenue in the Lakeview district. Family members identified the victim to KXTV as Lorenzo Lopez.

Police Chief Stanley McFadden told USA Today that the motive for the killings is "not clear" but that there is "no indication that these are hate crimes."

He added that police do not believe the killings were gang-related and that they all occurred in dimly lit areas near apartment buildings with no cameras.

"Either this person or persons are very lucky with choosing where they're going, or they're doing their homework to go to locations where they feel there's no cameras," McFadden said.

McFadden referred to the killings as a "series of homicides" while apparently stopping short of calling the perpetrator a serial killer, according to USA Today, though later conceded that "by definition, you probably could very well call this a serial killing."

Stockton police officials told ABC News that investigators have physical evidence linking the five crime scenes together.

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