Posted: April 16, 2017
By Dayton Daily News and Cox Media Group National Content Desk
A man who police say filmed himself shooting an elderly stranger before posting the footage on social media died Tuesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Cleveland police said Steve Stephens, 37, shared a video Sunday of the killing of Robert Godwin Sr., 74, on Facebook. He later filmed a confession video on Facebook Live, police said.
Following a massive, nationwide manhunt, authorities found Stephens on Tuesday morning in Erie, Pennsylvania, state police said. Erie is about 100 miles northeast of Cleveland.
A citizen called authorities after spotting Stephens near the intersection of Buffalo Road and Downing Avenue.
Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself.— PA State Police (@PAStatePolice) April 18, 2017
Cleveland police Chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference Tuesday that police found Stephens’ vehicle parked at a McDonald’s and initiated a pursuit. State police said officers chased Stephens for about two miles before attempting a maneuver to disable the Ford Fusion he was in.
“As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head,” Pennsylvania State Police said.
One trooper’s vehicle collided with Stephens’, causing minor damage. Aside of Stephens’ self-inflicted wound, police reported no injuries.
The suspect in the random Facebook shooting death of an elderly Cleveland man over the weekend worked with young people for years at a behavioral health agency in Pepper Pike, before disappearing Sunday afternoon.
Steve Stephens had worked at Beech Brook since 2008, most recently as a vocational specialist for the agency’s Assertive Community Treatment team for youth and young adults, the company said in a statement on social media.
Stephens took the position in April of 2015, after working as a youth mentor at Beech Brook.
He helped mentor young people on career opportunities and preparing themselves for work, Beech Brook’s Marketing and Public Relations Director, Nancy Kortemeyer told Cleveland.com.
Founded in 1852, the agency works with families, troubled children and young adults and provides a range of services, including prevention and intervention programs, mentoring, school-based mental health services, out-patient therapy and group living.
Beech Brook employs some 200 workers and decided to close its two locations on Monday as a precaution, “out of concerns for the safety of our staff, clients and other visitors to our sites,” the agency said on social media.
Police are still searching for Stephens, who mentioned his job during one of three broadcasts on Facebook Sunday.
Police in Cleveland, Ohio, are warning the public about online fundraising scams targeting those who want to donate to the family of Robert Godwin Sr., who was killed Sunday and whose death was seen in a video posted on Facebook.
Police said Steve Stephens, 37, posted video of the shooting and boasted about killing others.
Cleveland.com reported that police Chief Calvin Williams said a number of pages on the fundraising website GoFundMe have surfaced that were not approved by Godwin’s family.
A GoFundMe spokesman told Cleveland.com that only one page has been verified by the family. The page is called Help for Cleveland victim & family and has raised more than $27,000 of its $20,000 goal.
Godwin, 74, was a retired foundry worker and was widely regarded as a “good guy” by his family.
Authorities are still searching for Stephens and said they have not found other victims, despite Stephens boasting about killing more than a dozen people.
A search is underway for a man suspected of shooting and killing an elderly man, then sharing a video of the slaying on Facebook.
Police in Cleveland, Ohio, have issued an aggravated murder warrant for 37-year-old Steve Stephens, who is accused of fatally shooting 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. on Sunday in Cleveland.
Here's what we know about Stephens:
Description: Police described Stephens as a 6-foot-1, 244-pound black man with a bald head and full beard. He was last seen wearing a dark-striped polo shirt and driving a white, newer-model Ford Fusion with Ohio temporary tag E363630. Read more here.
The video: Stephens recorded himself as the shooting unfolded, police said. The video shows the point-of-view of the shooter as he gets out of a vehicle and approaches an elderly man, later identified as Godwin, walking down the sidewalk carrying a plastic shopping bag.
The shooter says a woman’s name and asks Godwin to repeat it.
“She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you,” the shooter says.
The video then shows a handgun firing.
The victim can be seen lying motionless and bloody on the pavement before the suspect returns to the vehicle.
Other claims of crimes: In another video, Stephens claimed to have killed more than a dozen other people, but police said they have not found evidence of any other victims.
Whereabouts: The Dayton Daily News reports that Stephens was last seen south of Interstate 90 in the area of East 93rd in Cleveland.
Police say Stephens, who is considered armed and dangerous, may have left the state and are urging Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan residents to be on the lookout. Anyone with information should call 911.
WOIO-TV reports that Stephens' most recent documented address was in Euclid, Ohio.
Employment: Stephens worked for a behavioral health agency, according to the Dayton Daily News.
A spokeswoman for Beech Brook, Stephens’ employer, said workers there are “shocked and horrified.”
"We hope and pray that he is arrested as soon as possible, and we hope and pray for a resolution quickly,” Nancy Kortemeyer told WOIO.
The elderly man who was shot and killed Sunday in a Facebook video has been identified.
Police said late Sunday that Steve Stephens shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland. In the video, Stephens reportedly said a woman’s name and asked Godwin to repeat it. “She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you,” he said as the older man tried to shield himself with a shopping bag.
Police have issued an aggravated murder warrant for Stephens, who is still at large. He is described as a bald man with a full beard, 6-foot-1 and 244 pounds. Anyone with information is urged to call 911.
Shanice Dunning, a reporter with WOIO-TV, spoke with Godwin’s family members earlier in the day, and they were distraught.
They described Godwin as “a good guy” who would “give you the shirt off his back."
“This man right here was a good man. ... It’s not real," said Godwin's son, Robert Godwin Jr.
“I feel like my heart is going to stop,” a woman, who wasn't identified, added in the video posted to Twitter.
Godwin's family said he spent Easter morning fishing.
Pictures of Godwin have since circulated on social media.
According to Cleveland.com, Godwin Jr. said he last saw his father Sunday morning when he came by to pick up basketball equipment for one of his other sons.
“He hugged my wife and me and said, ‘I’ll see you guys next time,'” Godwin Jr. said. “I said ‘OK, enjoy your Easter.'”
Godwin, a retired foundry worker, is survived by nine children, 14 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
– Cox Media Group Ohio contributed to this report.
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