Police in Cleveland are working with the FBI and other authorities, to find a suspect accused of committing a homicide and sharing the horrific footage on Facebook. Steve Stephens is being urged to turn himself in after he shot an elderly man in the head Sunday (April 16).
The victim has been identified as Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old grandfather killed at random. Stephens recorded the brutal murder in a video captioned “Easter day slaughter.”
“I found somebody I’m ’bout to kill,” Stephens says in footage before approaching Godwin who is walking on a sidewalk. “I’m ’bout to kill this guy right here, the old dude.”
Stephens can be heard telling Godwin to repeat the name, Joy Lane. “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you,” he says raising a gun at Godwin.
“I don’t know nobody by that name,” Godwin replies raising his hands to cover his face as Stephens pulls the trigger.
— Arabella Tomlinson (@RealArabellaTom) April 17, 2017
Godwin’s granddaughter asked for the footage to stop being shared online.
I can’t watch that video of my grandfather getting killed. that man is sick, please stop posting it. My grandfather was the 14th person.
— samantha💙 (@0samyy) April 16, 2017
Facebook removed the video and shut down Stephens’ account a few hours later. But before his account was closed, Stephens apologized and explained that he carried out the shooting because he was upset about his relationship with Lane. He threatened to continue senselessly murdering innocent victims until he received a call from Lane and his mother.
Godwin, a retired foundry worker (conflicted reports stated that he was 78), is survived by nine children, 14 grandchildren, and several great grandchildren, reports Cleveland.com.
His family was overcome with grief, while describing him as a caring and generous man in an interview with Cleveland 19 News.
“It feels like my heart is gonna’ stop,” said an inconsolable family member.
— Shanice (@ShaniceDunning) April 16, 2017
Stephens is said to be driving a white Ford Fusion and was reportedly tracked to Erie, Penn. He is considered armed and dangerous.
After the shooting, Stephens recored himself driving with a phone to his ear and stating that he “snapped.”
“Dog, I just snapped,” he says. “I just killed 13 motherf**kas’…and I’m ‘bout to keep killing until they catch me.”
Cleveland residents began tweeting about a man shooting people in the city Sunday afternoon. Although Stephens asserted to killing over a dozen people, his claim has not been verified, Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said during a press conference. The police department has since issued an aggravated murder warrant for Stephens.
Stephens, 37, was employed as a case manager at Beech Brook, a mental health organization. “I would deal with people’s problems every day, but when it comes to my sh*t nobody gives a f*ck,” he says in another recording. “This is f*cked up because innocent people ‘bout to die today. Hopefully I’ma try to kill as many people as I can and be on death row, or whatever the case may be. I just don’t give a f*ck no more.”
He also claims to have killed before.
“We learned about [the shooting] this afternoon when someone saw it on FB and notified us,” said Nancy Kortemeyer, Beech Brook’s vice president of marketing and PR. “We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him.”
Facebook also released a statement on the shooting. “This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” the company said. “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.”
Though it was originally reported that Stephens broadcast the fatal shooting on Facebook Live, the company clarified that the footage was uploaded to his account.
The tragedy is the second time in the last week that a deadly shooting has ended up on a Facebook-related outlet, after an Atlanta teen accidentally killed himself while playing with a gun on Instagram Live.