Manhunt expanded for suspect in Facebook video killing
- Author: Leroy Wright Apr 18, 2017,
Apr 18, 2017, 3:46
The man has been sought since publishing a video to Facebook on Easter Sunday that shows him shooting and killing 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., an innocent bystander police said did not know Stephens.
Stephens, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio, who was described as armed and unsafe, was also placed on the FBI's Most Wanted list, a designation officials hope will help raise public awareness about the case.
Stephens, 37, shot and killed a man on East 93rd Street in Cleveland Sunday afternoon, Cleveland police said.
Then a handgun comes into view, a gunshot is heard, and moments later the victim is laying in a pool of blood.
He said he last saw his father on Sunday, when the man stopped by his house to pick up some basketball equipment.
Mr Stephens said in Facebook comments that he had killed 15 people in Cleveland, but Mr Williams said there was no evidence that he had killed anyone other than Mr Godwin. The video of the shooting was on his page for about three hours. Police said he might be driving a white or cream-colored Ford Fusion, and asked anyone who spots him or his vehicle to call police or a special Federal Bureau of Investigation hotline (800-CALLFBI).
Stephens worked at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency headquartered in Pepper Pike, near Cleveland.
"He hugged my wife and me and said, 'I'll see you guys next time, ' " Robert Jr. recalled.
He told reporters investigators contacted people Stephens has been speaking to and those individuals are cooperating with police. "We called him the junk man", she said.
"We are shocked and horrified and we don't know anything more about it", agency spokeswoman Nancy Kortemeyer told CBS Cleveland affiliate WOIO-TV.
In a rambling video, Steve Stephens said, "I snapped, I just snapped".
"We want to keep it that way", Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said Monday morning.
Authorities said multiple 911 calls came in shortly after 12:30 p.m. Monday reporting that Steve Stephens could be in or near Fairmount Park, a large green expanse northwest of downtown. He has many traffic violations but no criminal record, Williams said.
The video showing the murder went unreported for nearly two hours after it was uploaded. In January, four black people in Chicago were accused of attacking an 18-year-old disabled white man and broadcasting the assault on the social media site while making anti-white racial taunts.
Cleveland State University issued a shelter in place while police search for the suspect.
The New York State Police are actively looking for Stephens, according to a spokesman. He said at one point he "messed up". "We hope and pray that he is arrested as soon as possible and we hope and pray for a resolution quickly". "He'd give you the shirt off his back, and I'm not just saying that for these cameras", he told the station.