'Facebook killer' Steve Stephens found dead after vehicle chase

Elizabeth Williams
April 18, 2017

Police said the 37-year-old murdered a man on East 93rd Street Sunday afternoon.

Pennsylvania State Police say the suspect in the random killing of a Cleveland retiree posted on Facebook has shot and killed himself after a brief pursuit. Police said he might be driving a white or cream-coloured Ford Fusion, and asked anyone who spots him or his auto to call police or a special Federal Bureau of Investigation hotline (800-CALLFBI).

"Like I said, I killed 13, so I'm working on 14 as we speak", he said. The video was posted on Facebook after Godwin was killed and was viewable for about three hours before it was removed.

Godwin's children say the reason they are able to forgive Stephens is due to their father, who took them to church every Sunday, and always stressed the importance of forgiveness.

Police say the most important thing you can do is be on alert.

It is unclear where Stephens has been since Sunday, when Stephens allegedly approached 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. and shot him point blank, killing him.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to Stephens' arrest.

Facebook called the shooting a "horrific crime" and said it would review its policies on how easily and quickly material that violates its standards can be reported by users.

Justin Osofsky, Facebook's vice-president of global operations, said the first complaint made about the video showing the killing came almost two hours after it was posted.

In the shooting video, Stephens told Godwin a woman's name and said, "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you".

"In addition to improving our reporting flows, we are constantly exploring ways that new technologies can help us make sure Facebook is a safe environment", Osofsky added.

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Authorities say Stephens is considered armed and risky and could be anywhere.

In this instance, Facebook took down Stephens' videos and disabled his account about two hours after he first started uploading. Steve really is a nice guy. he is generous with everyone he knows. Police late Sunday said they couldn't identify other homicide victims but "continue to search multiple areas".

Stephens had worked since 2008 as a vocational specialist and youth mentor at Beech Brook, a behavioural health agency located outside of Cleveland.

Stephens is not believed to have known Godwin, a retired foundry worker who media reports said spent Easter Sunday morning with his son and daughter-in-law before he was killed.

In the video, Stephens blamed a former girlfriend he had lived with, saying he woke up last week and "couldn't take it anymore".

The woman, Joy Lane, confirmed to CBS News that she and Mr Stephen had been in a "relationship for several years".

In the video, which appeared shaky, Stephens got out of his vehicle and approached Godwin, who was holding a shopping bag.

"I am so sorry for your loss".

Beech Brook was closed Monday "for the safety of our employees", Kortemeyer said.

Though there is no credible evidence that Stephens was heading for and is in the Falls, DalPorto said city police are "vigorously looking for him".

Other reports by VgToday

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