Steve Stephens, the alleged Facebook killer, has committed suicide in Erie, Pennsylvania, where he was suspected to have escaped to during much of yesterday.
Stephens was located in the same Ford Fusion which police had been seeking since his video of the murder he allegedly committed surfaced on the social media site.
The murder suspect was not found dead, as many reports seem to state. He shot himself after a brief police chase at around 11:10 a.m. local time. “Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself,” the Pennsyvlania State Police tweeted.
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
Stephens allegedly murdered an elderly man who he selected at random, while the man was walking on a Cleveland street, capturing the entire horrible event on video. The video was posted to the Facebook account of user Stevie Steve, who was later identified to be Steve Stephens by Cleveland police.
In the shocking video, Stephens says, while he is driving down the road, “Found me somebody I’m going to kill, this guy right here, this old dude.” He then exits his vehicle, walks up to the man and begins speaking to him. After he asks him how old he is, he then asks him to say a woman’s name.
At that point, he pulls out his gun. The old man holds up his hands, including a bag he was carrying, in a defensive posture and appears to say “I don’t know nobody.” At that point, the gunman shoots a single bullet at the man’s head. The man is seen afterward bleeding on the ground.
The elderly victim has been identified as 74 year old Robert Godwin. A GoFundMe account has been set up to help his family.
— Nicholas A. Kovach (@TheKovach) April 18, 2017
Here are five quick facts regarding the manhunt, and ultimate conclusion of the pursuit of Stephens:
1. Stephens was “found dead of self-inflicted gunshot would in white Ford Fusion on Buffalo Road,” according to Erie police. The Pennsylvania state police had been following the car as it was heading west into the city of Erie,” reports GoErie.com.
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) April 18, 2017
Twitter users are comparing the entire tragic event to the case of Christopher Dorner, a former police officer who was fired by the Los Angeles Police Department. In 2013, Dorner went on a shooting spree, killing four people. Police then launched a massive manhunt — similar to the one that was organized around the Stephens tragedy. Dorner was ultimately found burned to death inside of a cabin after a police standoff which included suspect and police firing bullets at each other.
He had posted a manifesto on Facebook and also mailed it to Anderson Cooper, similar to the way that Stephens documented his heinous act, keeping in mind that in 2013, Facebook Live did not exist.
2. Earlier reports revealed that authorities suspected that Stephens had made his way to Pennsylvania and that his cell phone had pinged around Erie. However, local police had said that they had no knowledge of that.
Indeed, there appears to have been confusion at the time regarding the existence of a “ping” from Stephens’ phone. Pennsylvania State Police said that they “are not able to confirm if Stephens cell phone was pinged in the area or if he is in the area at all,” according to MyErie.com, which had cited reports confirming that his phone had pinged in eastern Erie.
Erie police had also denied that they were involved in the investigation at all. “Though Pennsylvania authorities said early Monday that Stephens’ cellphone had issued a ‘ping,’ or a signal, in Erie, Pennsylvania, the Erie Police Department said Monday afternoon it had no knowledge of a ping emitted from its city. Erie is about 100 miles east of Cleveland, according to CNN.
Additionally, authorities dismissed questions that they could locate the vehicle through GPS. “That vehicle is not equipped with any of those systems,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “Of course, that’s the first thing that we looked at from the dealership aspect, and also from Ford Motor Company itself. The vehicle is not equipped to offer that type of tracking.”
Cleveland shooter Steve Stephens found in Erie on Buffalo Rd by Rodger Young Park. Dead in vehicle of self inflicted gun shot wound. pic.twitter.com/KRR3ROBtTI
— Dennis Weed (@DennisWeed) April 18, 2017
3. The local Erie newspaper reported that Stephens took his life across the street from where an elementary school used to be. “The car, pointed west, is stopped in the westbound lane of Buffalo Road, across from the former Burton Elementary School, 1660 Buffalo Road. Police are blocking off the entire school grounds. Erie police are also at the scene,” reported GoErie.Com.
Reports of sightings of Stephens ranged a very wide area making the manhunt that much more difficult. There had been sightings reported from Baltimore, Maryland to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, none of which panned out as apparently, they were mistaken.
4. Mr. Godwin’s family spoke to CNN’s Anderson Cooper in a heart-wrenching interview, which demonstrated their strength, resolve, and unbelievable ability to forgive the man who had murdered their beloved father. Here’s an excerpt of one of several interviews with various family members:
5. Stephens blamed the shooting(s) on a woman, apparently his girlfriend, named Joy. “Three years I spent with this bitch … I wish we never met,” he wrote.
That’s consistent with his actions with the elderly man which he allegedly murdered. In the video he asks the man to say the girlfriend’s name before he shoots him. “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you,” he says to the man moments before he guns him down.
He claims that his girlfriend “drove him crazy,” saying that they were supposed to get married. “We are all human and we all have breaking points,” he added.
Stephens also talks about an attempt he made to visit with his mother, but that she did not care when he told her that he was feeling suicidal and homicidal.
“Didn’t care, it don’t matter, people would come to me with their problems, I would deal with my problems everyday,” Stephens says. “But when it comes to my problems, nobody gives a f*ck. It’s like I’m always the bad guy, no matter what the f*ck I do, people always making it out on me…. Innocent people about to die today. Hopefully I’m going to try and kill as many people as I can and be on death row or whatever the case may be. I just don’t give a f*ck no more. I’m beat, I’m tired, you know.”
In another post he talked about problems he had had in the past year. “I lost everything I ever had due to gambling,” he wrote. “I do not go into details but I’m a (sic) my breaking point I’m really on some murder shit. … FB you have 4 minutes to tell me why I shouldn’t be on death row!!! I’m dead serious. #teamdeathrow.”
In a video, he says “I’m 37 and all my f*cking life I’ve just always been a f*cking monster, man. Always had to prove myself, always had to take the butts of people’s jokes.”
“I’m killing motherf*ckrs, all because of this bitch… She’s putting me at my pushing point,” he says. “I was living over there with her, I woke up Friday and I just couldn’t take it anymore, I just left. Here I am, massacring motherf*ckers. Today is the Easter Day (girlfriend’s name) massacre.”
The victim’s family on Monday told reporters that they want Stephen’s ex-girlfriend to know that this is not her fault, and that she should not feel responsible.
The Godwin family also tells me they want Steve Stephen's ex-girlfriend to know this is NOT her fault. She should NOT feel responsible pic.twitter.com/uH4lc4ckJU
— Jessica Dill (@JessicaLynnDill) April 17, 2017