UPDATE (April 18, 2017):
ERIE, PA — Steve Stephens, Cleveland’s so-called “Facebook Killer” who executed an elderly victim and posted a video of the murder on the social-media site, fatally shot himself on Tuesday morning as Pennsylvania State troopers closed in on him.
A witness in Erie contacted police after spotting Stephens in a McDonald’s parking lot just after 11 A.M.
Officers gave chase and enacted a “PIT maneuver” to disable the suspect’s vehicle. As the car spun out of control, Stephens reportedly produced a pistol and shot himself.
A patrolman in active pursuit couldn’t stop his car in time and slid into Stephens’ vehicle, causing a minor collision. Neither he nor any other officers were hurt.
Maggie Green, Stephens’ mother, told the press she heard news of her son’s death on the radio. She said she believed all along it would end in suicide and added, “Steve was a good Christian person…. He just snapped…. He had a gambling problem.”
It is not believed at this time that Stephens killed anyone other than his initial target, 74-year-old Robert Goodwin.
ORIGINAL STORY (APRIL 17, 2017):
CLEVELAND, OH — Police have staged a massive manhunt for the suspect who allegedly shot and killed an elderly man in Ohio before posting the killing on Facebook — and bragging that he killed 13 more victims.
Steve Stephens, 37, is wanted on a charge of aggravated murder in connection with the death of Robert Godwin, Sr., 74, in Cleveland. This killing is thought to have been completely random. In the video, Stephens can be heard saying, “I found somebody I’m ’bout to kill. I’m ’bout to kill this guy right here, the old dude.”
Police have warned residents of the surrounding states of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Michigan to be on the lookout for Stephens, who they said may have traveled out of Ohio. Police this morning received a “ping” from Stephens’ cell phone in the area of Erie, Pennsylvania.
In the horrifying video, which police have verified is authentic, Stephens appears to get out of his car and make Goodwin say the name of a woman, “Joy Lane,” before pointing a gun at him and shooting. Lane dated Stephens for several years. After making Godwin say her name, Stephens said to him, “she’s the reason why all this about to happen to you.”
Authorities say Stephens filmed the murder and posted it on social media at around 2 P.M. Eastern Time on Easter Sunday.
Contrary to earlier reports that said Stephens had posted the crime on Facebook Live, police said the suspect did go live on the social media website at one point during the day — but not during the murder. That video was recorded and then uploaded after the fact.
Stephens, who works a mental-health care manager, also reportedly wrote on social media that he “messed up” and blamed the shooting on a woman believed to be his ex-girlfriend.
Police say Stephens is six-foot-one, weighs about 240 pounds, and has a full beard. He was driving a white Ford Fusion at the time of the broadcast.
The video of the killing was on Facebook for around three hours before it was removed. Stephens’s Facebook page also was eventually removed. “This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” a company spokesman said. “We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety.”
At a media briefing this morning, Cleveland Police said that they have not linked any additional victims to Stephens “as of now.”