A US hunt for the gunman accused of
murdering a grandfather and posting the
crime on Facebook ended Tuesday with the
suspect killing himself after a brief
pursuit with police in Pennsylvania.
Steve Stephens, 37, thought to have been
mentally unstable, had been on the run after
allegedly shooting dead 74-year-old Robert
Godwin Sr on Easter Sunday, seemingly at
random in broad daylight in Cleveland, Ohio.
The murder and a video later posted to
Facebook sparked outrage across the world
and renewed scrutiny of the growing number
of grisly videos being posted on social
Facebook has since removed the footage,
and chief executive Mark Zuckerberg
acknowledged Tuesday that the world's
largest social network had a role to play in
stemming the worrisome trend.
"There is a lot of work to do here," he
told a developers' conference. "And we will
keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies
like this from happening."
Authorities in Cleveland have urged a
nationwide debate on the issue of violence
posted to social media, and to find answers
to the plague of gun crime rocking America.
The manhunt ended when police received a
tip off shortly after 11:00 am (1500 GMT)
that Stephens was sitting in a white Ford
Fusion vehicle in a McDonald's parking lot
near Erie Pennsylvania, just over the border
"There was a short pursuit in which the
vehicle was stopped. As the officers
approached that vehicle, Steve Stephens took
his own life," Cleveland police chief Calvin
Stephens, who had been described as armed
and dangerous, had been on the FBI's Most
Wanted list with authorities offering up to
$50,000 in rewards for information leading
to his arrest.
According to a timeline of events pieced
together by police and Facebook, Stephens
posted a video on Sunday afternoon saying he
intended to kill, and followed up two
minutes later with video of Godwin's
In a third video 11 minutes later,
streamed live from Stephens's car, he said
he intended to kill others.
- 'Learned from this' -
Police currently believe that Godwin is
the only known victim.
Stephens's mother told CNN she called him
after learning about the video, and he had
told her he was shooting people because he
was "mad with his girlfriend."
The incident was the latest in a string
of disturbing crimes captured on Facebook
video, including the alleged gang rape of a
15-year-old girl, two fatal shootings, and
the kidnapping and torture of a disabled
"I think everybody has learned from
this," said Williams.
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP / JUSTIN
Facebook has since removed the footage, and
chief executive Mark Zuckerberg acknowledged
that the world's largest social network had
a role to play in stemming the worrisome
"This is something that should not have
been shared around the world, period. Our
kids, although they should not have seen
this, I'm sure a lot have. They need to take
this as a lesson. We can't do this in this
country. We just can't."
Facebook took down Stephens's videos and
disabled his account about two hours after
he first started uploading.
Justin Osofsky, vice president of global
operations for the social media giant,
acknowledged in a company blog post, that
the delay was too long.
"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," he said.
More than 400 tips had poured in before
the suspect was spotted in Pennsylvania.
- Family forgive -
Police expressed regret that Stephens had
taken his own life.
"There might be people out there in
similar situations and we could find out why
he did what he did," said Williams.
"If you're feeling, you know, not quite
right and if there are things going on in
your life that you need assistance with, you
need to reach out and call somebody. And
we'll get you that help," he added.
GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / Angelo
"This is something that should not have been
shared around the world, period. Our kids,
although they should not have seen this, I'm
sure a lot have. They need to take this as a
lesson," said Cleveland police chief Calvin
Members of Godwin's family had offered
Stephens their forgiveness.
"I don't want that man to die, I want him
brought to justice," one of his sons, Robby
Miller, told CNN.
"This particular incident received a lot
of attention and rightfully so," Cleveland
Mayor Frank Jackson told reporters.
"We cannot resolve this underlying issue
of violence particularly gun violence if we
do not function and operate and have the
same compassion and commitment that we've
shown here," Jackson said.
It was not immediately clear how long
Stephens had been in Erie, an area of remote
woodland, farms and barns. Police initially
searched the area on Sunday.
Stephens worked for a behavioral health
agency serving children through mental
health services, foster care and adoption,
at-risk youth and other programs.