Extra security in Twinsburg schools in light of manhunt for Facebook murder suspect

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TWINSBURG, Ohio — Twinsburg police upped patrols, and there was extra security as a precaution within the city’s school district in light of the manhunt for the Facebook murder suspect.

Police say Steve Stephens, 37, murdered a man on East 93rd Street in Cleveland Sunday afternoon. Stephens posted video of the crime on his Facebook page, then in a series of other live videos, claimed to kill others. According to Cleveland police, 74-year-old Robert Godwin, Sr. is the only victim.

Stephens was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Erie, Pa., Tuesday morning after a brief pursuit with Pennsylvania State Police.

A message sent to the school community from Twinsburg City School District’s Supt. Kathi Powers Monday afternoon stated: “I understand that the suspect either frequented or recently lived in the City of Twinsburg. As such, I have been in contact throughout the day (Monday) with the Twinsburg Police Department in efforts to prepare for the return of our students (Tuesday).”

In her Monday email, Powers also said:

“I have been advised by the police department that the suspect is likely well out of our vicinity and that our school days and activities should follow normal procedures and schedules.  This afternoon’s athletic events will proceed as usual.  Likewise, we welcome our students back to class tomorrow, Tuesday, April 18th.  Given the fact that Sunday’s tragic event raised the concerns and anxiety of our residents, and as an extra precaution, the Twinsburg Police Department will provide additional police presence at this afternoon’s athletic events as well as throughout the school day tomorrow.  This will include additional police presence during recess for our elementary school students.

The Twinsburg City School District has procedures in place which ensure a safe and orderly learning environment.  Our students and staff members practice safety protocols as part of our ongoing efforts to be prepared in the event of an emergency.  In addition to our internal procedures, our District’s partnerships with local law enforcement authorities provide another layer to our safety plan.  One of the overarching themes of our emergency management plan is awareness.  As such, I remind everyone to be aware of your surroundings and to report any suspicious circumstances to our local authorities.”

Twinsburg police also confirmed Tuesday morning that there were to be extra patrols in the city. They said extra patrols are normal in large investigations or cases.

There has been no sign of Stephens despite the search that’s expanded to multiple states.

Stephens is 6 foot 1 and weighs 244 pounds. He is bald with a beard. Police said he was last driving a white 2016 Ford Fusion with temporary tag E363630. Williams told reporters on Monday there is no reason to believe the suspect is no longer driving that vehicle.

Investigating agencies and Crime Stoppers are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the suspect’s capture.

If you see Stephens, please call 911 immediately. Anyone with additional information or tips should dial 1-800-CALL-FBI.

Continuing coverage of this story here.