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'We just need some peace' | Family seeking justice in shooting deaths of father, son in Stockton

50-year old Van Surrell and his son Van were both shot and killed in separate cases.

STOCKTON, Calif — A family is seeking justice in the deaths of a father and son killed earlier this year in Stockton.

50-year old Van Surrell was killed on Jan. 12. His 29-year old son by the same name was killed just a few weeks later in Mar. 20.

The Stockton Police Department does not believe the two cases are connected.

"My brother he was a protector," said Ellesse Knox, the sister of the younger Van. "He made sure that he protected his family and he was real quiet."

Her brother was shot and killed outside the front entrance of a Motel 6 on March Lane in Stockton. It was a worker at the front desk that told her mother the devastating news. 

"She said your occupant in 332 was killed and that's how I found out," said Antrice Knox, Van Surrell's mother.

Knox and her son were temporarily staying at the motel after the home they lived in caught fire a few days earlier.

Knox says she had assumed her son was asleep that night only to hear a gunshot around 12:30 on a Saturday morning and fell back to sleep.

"They still claim today that they didn't see anything or they didn't have cameras or anything," said Antrice Knox.

The family said Surrell had recently served a prison term and when he got out was not the same.

He was paranoid schizophrenic, which his sister says may have led to someone shooting him perhaps over a misunderstanding of his mental illness.

"I really want to find justice for my brother and that includes finding his murderer and bringing his mental illness to light," said Ellesse Knox.

Her brother's father lost his life to gunfire near Downtown Stockton at the intersection of Sutter Street and Oak Street. Police say they responded on Tuesday night, Jan. 12 to shots fired and a vehicle collision with the father inside the car.

"I do want whoever hurt my brother to understand that he was human and he was loved," said Ellesse.

"We just need some peace. That's all," said Antrice.

"We really want to be able to work with our victim's family because they have a lot of questions that they're asking us and we're just trying to give them some type of justice, some type of closure," said Stockton Police Officer Joe Silva. "And, the only way we can do that is by working together with our community because once again investigators believe there are people out there who have information on who did this."

If you have any information that might lead to an arrest, in either case, you could be eligible for up to a $10,000 reward.

You can remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 209-946-0600.

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