Police search for suspect tied to killing on Facebook
Officials say man shot elderly man while on video
CLEVELAND | A manhunt is underway for a suspect who police say killed a man on the street Sunday while streaming it live on Facebook.
Law enforcement is searching the Cleveland area and beyond for Steve Stephens, who police say walked up to an elderly man and shot him while on video, said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.
The victim has been identified as 74-year-old Robert Goodwin Sr.
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson publicly urged Mr. Stephens to turn himself into police and not to “do any more harm to anybody.”
“Any problems he is having, we can have a conversation,” Mr. Jackson said.
In the video, Mr. Stephens said he “snapped” over a woman and claimed to have killed more than a dozen other people.
Chief Williams said police have not verified that information. “There are no more victims that we know are tied to him,” he added.
The chief also said they’ve been talking with Mr. Stephens’ friends and family. “What happened today was senseless,” the chief said.
According to Cleveland TV station WJW, Fox-8, Chief Williams said the last known sighting of Mr. Stephens happened around 2 p.m. and authorities do not know whether he is still in Cleveland or has fled the area.
Authorities say Mr. Stephens broadcast the video live on the social media network Sunday afternoon. It was up for about three hours before it was removed. Mr. Stephens’s Facebook page, using the persona “Stevie Steve,” has also been removed.
This is not the first time Facebook Live has been used to broadcast violence or death.
In January, four people in Chicago were arrested after they posted a video showing them beat and taunt a mentally disabled man live on the social media site.
Then in March, a 15-year-old Chicago girl was apparently sexually assaulted by five or six men or boys on Facebook Live, and none of the roughly 40 people who watched the live video reported the attack to police, authorities said.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” said a representative for Facebook. “We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety.”
Police say Mr. Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous. He is described as a black man with a bald head and beard, standing 6 foot 1 inch and weighing 240 pounds.
Chief Williams said Mr. Stephens may be driving a newermodel white Ford Fusion, with a temporary license plate. The Cleveland police department reported the tag on Twitter as “E363630.”
The shooting happened in the Glenville neighborhood on the city’s east side, south of Interstate 90.
According to Cleveland TV station WOIO, Mr. Stephens works at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency that “has served more than 18,000 children and families this year.”
“We are shocked and horrified and we don’t know anything more about it. We hope and pray that he is arrested as soon as possible and we hope and pray for a resolution quickly,” Nancy Kortemeyer, a spokeswoman for Beech Brook, told the CBS affiliate.
Law enforcement are searching for Steve Stephens. Mr. Stephens is accused of killing a man.