The man who randomly killed a Cleveland retiree and posted video of the crime on Facebook shot himself to death in his car Tuesday during a police chase in Pennsylvania, ending a multistate manhunt less than 48 hours after it began.
Acting on a tip, Pennsylvania State Police spotted Steve Stephens, 37, leaving a McDonald’s in Erie and went after him, bumping his car to try to get it to stop, authorities said. He shot himself in the head as the car spun out of control, police said.
“This started with one tragedy and ended with another person taking their own life,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams. “We would have liked to have brought Steve in peacefully and really talked to him about why this happened.”
Stephens, a job counselor who worked with teenagers and young people, was wanted on murder charges in the shooting of Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old former foundry worker and father of 10 who was picking up aluminum cans on Sunday when he was gunned down.
The chilling video was on Facebook for three hours before it was taken down, drawing criticism of the social network and renewing questions about how responsibly it polices objectionable material.
At a Silicon Valley conference Tuesday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg briefly addressed the Cleveland case, saying Facebook has “a lot of work to do” and “we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this.”
Police would not speculate on what was behind the killing, but in the video and other footage he posted, Stephens talked about losing everything he had to gambling and having trouble with his girlfriend. He said he “just snapped.”