Face­book shoot­ing sus­pect found by cops, com­mits sui­cide.

Man gave state po­lice brief chase be­fore tak­ing his own life

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY LAURA KELLY

A McDon­ald’s worker in Erie, Penn­syl­va­nia, spot­ted the sus­pect in a fa­tal shoot­ing that aired on Face­book and alerted state po­lice, who briefly chased the man be­fore he shot and killed him­self Tues­day morn­ing — end­ing a two-day, na­tion­wide man­hunt.

Steve Stephens, 37, was wanted for the slay­ing of 74-year-old Robert God­win Sr. in Cleve­land. Stephens recorded him­self shoot­ing Mr. God­win in the face and up­loaded the video to his Face­book page.

Ohio State Po­lice ini­ti­ated a man­hunt Sun­day and ap­pealed to the pub­lic to help in find Stephens. As the na­tional search en­tered its third day Tues­day, po­lice had re­ceived al­most 400 tips from the pub­lic.

One of those tips was from a fast-food restau­rant em­ployee in Erie County, Penn­syl­va­nia. Po­lice ear­lier had iden­ti­fied the north­west county as a pos­si­ble lo­ca­tion of Stephens, based on a ping on his cell­phone at a cell­phone tower.

Driv­ing a white Ford Fu­sion, Stephens ap­proached the McDon­ald’s drive-through and or­dered chicken nuggets and french fries. When Stephens con­tin­ued to the sec­ond win­dow, the em­ployee stepped away to call 911, her man­ager, Tom Ducharme told re­porters Tues­day.

Mr. Ducharme ap­proached the sec­ond win­dow and told Stephens it would be a minute for the fries, in or­der to buy some time for the po­lice to ar­rive. Stephens said he couldn’t wait, and as he was pulling out of the park­ing lot, the po­lice ar­rived, Mr. Ducharme said.

Po­lice said they gave short chase to Stephens that didn’t ex­ceed 50 mph. They used a pre­ci­sion im­mo­bi­liza­tion tech­nique, or PIT ma­neu­ver, to spin Stephens’ car to get him to stop. He then pulled out a gun and shot him­self, po­lice said.

Speak­ing to re­porters shortly af­ter in­ci­dent, Cleve­land Po­lice Chief Calvin Wil­liams said they had wanted to take Stephens in alive.

“We would have liked to have taken in Steven peace­fully and find out why this hap­pened … why he did what he did and why this drove him to this,” Chief Wil­liams told re­porters.

In other videos posted to Face­book, Stephens had boasted of hav­ing com­mit­ted as many as a dozen other mur­ders, but in­ves­ti­ga­tors could not con­firm that.

Cleve­land Po­lice ini­tially sent in­ves­ti­ga­tors to the area of Erie af­ter re­ceiv­ing a ping from a cell­phone call with Stephens was tracked to that lo­ca­tion. Of­fi­cers were go­ing back Tues­day with ground and air as­sets when the chase oc­curred, Chief Wil­liams said.

Po­lice said it’s pos­si­ble that Stephens chose to travel to Erie be­cause of the op­por­tu­nity to hide in re­mote ar­eas, as op­posed to work­ing with any­one else to aid his es­cape.

They don’t be­lieve he had any ac­com­plices, but they said they are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether some­one was har­bor­ing him or if he had taken refuge in his car or out­side.

Speak­ing to the graphic na­ture of the crime, Chief Wil­liams said it shows the power of so­cial me­dia and the harm it can do.

“We’ve talked be­fore about peo­ple not liv­ing their lives on so­cial me­dia, and be­ing truth­ful, and not harm­ing peo­ple on so­cial me­dia and this is a prime ex­am­ple,” he said. “This is some­thing that should not have been shared around the world, pe­riod. Our kids ... they need to take this as a les­son, we can’t do this in this coun­try.”

Chief Wil­liams said he did not have any per­sonal con­ver­sa­tions with so­cial me­dia out­lets. He added that it’s on the radar of po­lit­i­cal lead­ers to have con­ver­sa­tions, not just with Face­book but with all so­cial me­dia, about what con­tent should be al­lowed to be posted.

Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg, speak­ing Tues­day at a con­fer­ence in San Jose, California, said: “Our hearts go out to the fam­ily and friends of Robert God­win Sr. We have a lot of work to do, and we will keep do­ing all we can to pre­vent tragedies like this from hap­pen­ing.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS PHO­TOGRAPHS

Penn­syl­va­nia State Po­lice in­ves­ti­gate the scene where Steve Stephens, the sus­pect in the ran­dom killing of a Cleve­land re­tiree that was posted on Face­book, was found shot dead Tues­day, in Erie. Penn­syl­va­nia. Act­ing on a tip, state po­lice spot­ted Stephens as he was driv­ing away from a McDon­ald’s.

Cleve­land Po­lice Chief Calvin Wil­liams said Steve Stephens, who is ac­cused of ran­domly killing a Cleve­land re­tiree and post­ing video of the crime on Face­book, shot him­self to death in his car.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.