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Cleveland police report the man suspected of randomly killed a 74-year-old retiree and sharing the video on Facebook has fatally shot himself, ending a manhunt that concluded in Pennsylvania.
In a press conference led by Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and Police Chief Calvin Williams, Williams said Pennsylvania police in Erie County, a northwest corner of the state, received a tip that Stephens’s vehicle was in a McDonald’s parking lot shortly after 11am ET.
When police tried to pull Stephens over, a pursuit ensued, Williams said. Stephens stopped and officers approached his vehicle, at which point Stephens shot himself.
UPDATE on Steve Stephens case https://t.co/Yoc9KA8UF5— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 18, 2017
Chief Williams: we are taking a slow, cautious approach right now. We're still putting all the pieces together. There is a lot we don't know— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 18, 2017
A search for Stephens began Sunday, April 16, after he recorded a video of himself shooting a retired man named Robert Godwin in Cleveland, then posted it to his Facebook account. In the video, Stephens approaches Godwin on a street in northeast Cleveland, and tells him to say the name of his girlfriend before telling the Godwin she is the reason “this is about to happen to you.”
Early reports of the shooting from police and media claim Stephens broadcast the video on Facebook Live, but the company has since denied the claim, saying Stephens uploaded the footage himself but later used Facebook Live to discuss the killing.
On his Facebook page and using the live feature, Stephens bragged about killing 14 other people, though Cleveland police said they weren’t aware of other victims at the time. Stephens was wanted on an aggravated murder charge.
According to the Associated Press, Facebook announced on Monday that following the killing, it has launched a review for reporting harmful content on the platform. The company said it disabled Stephen’s account 23 minutes after receiving the first report about the fatal shooting video but two hours after receiving any report of his page.
H/T Associated Press
Samantha Grasso is a former IRL staff writer for the Daily Dot with a reporting emphasis on immigration. Her work has appeared on Los Angeles Magazine, Death And Taxes, Revelist, Texts From Last Night, Austin Monthly, and she has previously contributed to Texas Monthly.