A national manhunt for the accused killer who streamed a brutal murder on Facebook ended Tuesday. Steve Stephens, the killer, fatally shot himself following a police pursuit according to the authorities.
Chief Police of Cleveland, Calvin Williams, said that the police in Pennsylvania got a tip after 11 AM ET that Stephens’ car was seen on a parking lot of a McDonald’s near Erie. Police officers actually found the Ford Fusion. They then pursued the vehicle for two miles. The white car was forced into a spin which then led Stephens to draw a pistol. This was according to the reports of State Police.
“Steve Stephens took his own life,” said Williams, “We don’t prefer this kind of ending.”
Williams said that authorities got at least 400 tips over the location of Stephens after police reported that he shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin on Easter Sunday. The Chief of Police said that the search was on a nationwide scale. Tips even came from Texas. As for sightings, lots were reported in Pennsylvania.
Erie County is northeast of Cleveland. State police said that they weren’t sure where Stephens was before he shot himself. Williams said that a thorough investigation of what happened is still ongoing.
Stephens received the charge of aggravated murder. The 37-year-old claimed that he killed more than a dozen of people. However, no evidence was found to back up his claim. Stephens was contacted by detectives on his cell phone right after he shot Godwin. The detectives were not successful in persuading Stephens to turn himself to the police. This kicked off the frantic search. The FBI and police officers scoured the entire region and city for Stephens but they did not find him.
Williams said that the family members of Godwin had been notified. According to him, Godwin’s family thinks that this isn’t over. Brenda Haymon, the daughter of Godwin, told CNN that she is currently making funeral arrangements. She started as soon as she heard the news.
Brenda Haymon said that she wishes Stephens died in a hail that would consist of hundreds of bullets. For her, it would have been better instead of just Stephens taking a single bullet for himself.
Debbie Godwin, another daughter of the victim, told Associated Press that she preferred for Stephens to remain alive. He would have faced prison time to repent for his sins and the murder of her father.
“If you kill an innocent, you have to suffer the consequences and face your crime,” Debbie said.
Last Monday, the Godwin family said that they already forgave Stephens. They told him that he just needs to surrender. Another daughter of Robert, Tonya Godwin-Baines, told WJW that she wanted to wrap her arms around him. Robert’s son, Robert Godwin Jr., told the Cleveland TV station that he is not happy with what he has done to his father but he had forgave the man.
Cleveland police said that Stephens posted a Facebook video of the apparent random killing that killed Robert, the grandfather of 14 and father of 10. The video was removed only when Facebook management received reports.