Your NPR news source

Facebook Murder Suspect Has 'Shot And Killed Himself,' Police Say

Authorities were looking for Steve Stephens, 37, in connection with the killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. on Sunday. Stephens was spotted Tuesday morning by Pennsylvania State Police.

SHARE Facebook Murder Suspect Has 'Shot And Killed Himself,' Police Say
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams answers questions during a news conference on Tuesday.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams answers questions during a news conference on Tuesday.

Tony Dejak

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

Follow 0000018f-8450-db24-a9ff-ccd3f3840000 PA State Police ✔@PAStatePolice Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself. 10:46 AM - 18 Apr 2017 16,20416,204 Retweets 8,5728,572 likes

A nationwide manhunt for a suspect who allegedly shot an elderly man dead in Cleveland and then uploaded it to Facebook has ended with the man shooting and killing himself in Pennsylvania’s Erie County.

“Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by [Pennsylvania State Police] members in Erie County,” the state police said on its Twitter account. “After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself.”

Follow 0000018f-8450-db24-a9ff-ccd3f3950000 Cleveland Police ✔@CLEpolice Mayor Jackson: Reward of up to $50,000 from ATF, FBI, Crimestoppers for information leading to the arrest of Steve Stephens. 2:20 PM - 17 Apr 2017 1,6711,671 Retweets 1,3741,374 likes

Follow 0000018f-8450-db24-a9ff-ccd3f3a60000 Cleveland Police ✔@CLEpolice Chief Williams: This is now a national search for Steve. We will leave no stone unturned. 2:22 PM - 17 Apr 2017 871871 Retweets 1,0911,091 likes

Authorities had been offering up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of the 37-year-old Stephens, who was wanted over the apparently random killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. Local, state and federal authorities were involved in the hunt for Stephens, who was said to be driving a white Ford Fusion with a temporary tag.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said the state police got a tip that the vehicle was in a McDonald’s parking lot. Stephens fled when officers arrived and gave chase. Shortly afterward, he took his own life.

“We are grateful that this has ended,” Williams told reporters Tuesday. “We would like to have brought Steve in peacefully, and really talked to him and find out exactly why this happened. Because there might be other people out there in similar situations that we can help by finding out why he did what he did and what drove him to this.”

He said authorities will continue the investigation, which remains in the early stages.

During the manhunt, Stephen D. Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI in Cleveland, said, “There’s not a federal agency in the United States that is not involved in some way.”

Authorities received more than 400 tips from the public related to Stephens.

Facebook says the suspect allegedly uploaded a video at 11:09 a.m. local time on Sunday declaring his intent to commit murder. A video uploaded two minutes later appears to show him gunning down Godwin.

Eleven minutes after that, according to the social media site, he broadcast a live video of himself confessing to the murder. In a timeline of the events, Facebook says the video of the shooting was visible to the public for more than two hours and was taken down 23 minutes after it was first reported.

“As a result of this terrible series of events, we are reviewing our reporting flows to be sure people can report videos and other material that violates our standards as easily and quickly as possible,” Facebook’s vice president of global operations, Justin Osofsky, said in a statement Monday evening.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Tuesday that “our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr., and we have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.”

Regarding the chilling video, Williams said Tuesday, “This is something that should not have been shared around the world. Period. ... We can’t do this in this country.”

As The Two-Way reported, police said that Stephens “claimed to have committed multiple other homicides, which are still not verified.”

Authorities said Tuesday that they have not found any additional victims.

The Associated Press reported that Stephens’ life “appeared to be unraveling under the weight of gambling debts and trouble with his girlfriend.”

He worked as a “vocational specialist involved in preparing youth and young adults ages 16-25 for employment,” according to the wire service.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit


The Latest
A report says US police departments face a three-fold crisis: an erosion of community trust, a violent-crime surge, and dwindling police staffing. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Chip Mitchell
David Brown was appointed superintendent of the Chicago Police Department less than three years ago.
The governor says he is visiting “liberal cities” who he says are too soft on crime.
The Bureau of Prisons is shutting down a unit at its newest penitentiary in Illinois, following an investigation by NPR and The Marshall Project that exposed it was rife with violence and abuse.