Family members of Cleveland native Robert Godwin are remembering the 74-year-old while those who knew wanted gunman Steve Stephens are surprised at his actions.
CNN reports the Stephens killed Goodwin on Easter Sunday (April 16). Godwin had finished enjoying his holiday meal with family when he was approached by an irate Stephens and shot in the head. “Found me somebody I’m going to kill,” he’s heard saying in the video. “I’m going to kill this guy right here. He’s an old old dude, too.”
Stephens recored the entire ordeal on his phone and later posted in Facebook, noting that he’s killed over ten others as a response to issues with a girlfriend and work. Police haven’t found any proof of other victims, but have determined the 37-year-old could be crossing state lines to Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana or Michigan in a white Ford Fusion.
— Shanice Settle (@ShaniceDunning) April 16, 2017
Online tributes began pouring in for the loving grandfather, including photos and memories from his family. Godwin’s daughter Debbie D. Godwin, posted several photos of her father on social media. Godwin, a repairer of The Breach Ministries of Hope International Church, also mentioned to those concerned for the the family that they haven’t set up a GoFundMe page for her father.
— MinisteringLove (@Repairerofthebr) April 17, 2017
Over 30 GoFundMe pages were set up by those heartbroken by the harrowing ordeal. In a statement to Heavy, the company acknowledged that while the pages weren’t set up by the family, the money raised will be sent to them. We have spoken with the family specifically about this GoFundMe. It’s not uncommon for someone to create a GoFundMe to help another individual after a news report,” the statement reads. “We have spoken with the GoFundMe campaign organizer and members of the family, as well as local authorities. We’ll guarantee the money will be deposited directly into the family’s bank account.”
Another person who has come forward is Joy Lane, the woman Stephens addressed several times in disgruntled Facebook posts. Speaking to CBS News via text, Lane also sent condolences to the family, but called the gunman a “nice guy.””We had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened. My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy… he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.”
Dawn Arrington, a former classmate of Stephens also called him a “different kind of guy.” “I’m texting and Facebook messaging people that I went to school with — the reaction is a collective ‘I can’t believe that’,” Arrington said to Cleveland. “I’m completely shocked. I’m heartbroken.” She added Stephens was a “funny guy, always laughing and joking.”“It was all jokes and fun,” she said. “He was slightly awkward. He was a different kind of guy.”
“We need Steve to turn himself in,” Police Chief Calvin Williams told reporters. “Right now there are two families out there hurting. Mr. Godwin’s family and of course there are people out there who care about Steve and want to see this not go any further.”