CLEVELAND — Cleveland murder suspect Steve Stephens who is accused of killing a 74-year-old grandfather and posting video of the crime on Facebook fatally shot himself on Tuesday in Pennsylvania after a short chase, police said.
During a press conference at noon on Tuesday, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said a tipster spotted Stephens’ car in the parking lot of a McDonald’s near Erie, and called police. After a short pursuit, Stephens’ car stopped. As officers approached, Stephens shot and killed himself, Williams said.
Williams said they had hoped for a different outcome because they still had a lot of questions for Stephens. “We are grateful this has ended, but we preferred it had not ended this way. We had a lot of questions.” Williams addressed the fact that Stephens’ actions may have been the result of mental health issues, and he said they wanted to know what led Stephens to do this so they could help others in the future. “If you’re feeling not right, and there are things going on that you need assistance with, you need to reach out and call somebody. We’ll get you the help you need,” Williams said.
He also said at this time they are unsure what he has been doing the past few days and whether anyone has been aiding him. He emphasized that they are in the beginning stages of the investigation.
The search for Stephens began on Easter Sunday after he shared a recording of himself announcing his plan to kill someone, then two minutes later posted another video of himself shooting and killing 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. A few minutes after that, he went live and confessed to the murder. “I snapped, I just snapped,” Stephens said.
Facebook said it disabled Stephen’s account within 23 minutes of receiving the first report about the video of the fatal shooting and two hours after receiving any report.
Godwin was a retired foundry worker who had 10 children. He was picking up aluminum cans after spending Easter with his family when he was shot. His family says they have forgiven Stephens, and they are sad he took his own life.
Police would not speculate on what was behind the killing, but videos Stephens posted showed him talking about losing everything he had to gambling and trouble with his girlfriend.
Stephens filed for bankruptcy two years ago despite holding down a job as a counselor helping young people develop job skills and find employment. The behavioral health agency where he worked said an extensive background check before he was hired turned up nothing worrisome.
Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite his claim on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.
Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself.
— PA State Police (@PAStatePolice) April 18, 2017
CNN contribute to this report.