Cleveland Murder Intensifies Scrutiny of Facebook Live

Cleveland Murder Intensifies Scrutiny of Facebook Live

By David Jones

Apr 18, 2017 11:52 AM PT

Video footage of a senseless murder in Cleveland, posted after the fact on Facebook Live, has attracted national attention to the role of the platform in criminals’ minds.

Authorities Tuesday morning announced that Steve Stephens — the 37-year-old suspect wanted for the cold-blooded shooting of Robert Godwin Sr. — shot himself to death after a short pursuit by Pennsylvania State Police. Officials had responded to a tip about a sighting of Stephens’ white Ford Fusion in a McDonald’s parking lot in Erie, Pennsylvania.

“We are grateful this has ended,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. “We would prefer that it had not ended this way, because there are a lot of questions I’m sure that not only family, but the city in general would have had for Steve, as to why this transpired.”

Stephens had been on the run after allegedly killing 74-year-old Godwin shortly after he left an Easter Sunday dinner with family. Stephens apparently chose his victim at random and shot him at point blank range before taking off in a white Ford Fusion.

Stephens uploaded the shooting to Facebook Live later on Sunday. He claimed that he had shot 15 other people as well, but officials said that claim thus far appears unfounded.

Philadelphia police officials confirmed via Twitter that several schools in the city were put on lockdown Monday afternoon, amid reports that Stephens was in the area of the Belmont Plateau in Fairmount Park in Philadelphia. Police later said that the lockdown was lifted, and they found no information indicating the suspect was in the city.

Cleveland P. D.’s Williams confirmed that a cellphone ping from Erie had been noted earlier during the manhunt, but he was not aware why the suspect was in the Erie area.

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