‘We have closure’: Facebook murder suspect found dead in Erie, PA

ERIE, Pa. -- Facebook murder suspect Steve Stephens has been found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Erie, Pa.

"We have closure in regards to the search for Steve Stephens," Mayor Frank Jackson said during a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Chief Calvin Williams said that at just after 11 a.m. Pennsylvania State Police received a tip that Stephens' vehicle was seen in a McDonald's parking lot near Erie, Pa.

A press release from the PA State Police states that troopers immediately began to canvas the area for Stephens and located him in his vehicle a short time later.

Troopers in marked patrol cars initiated a pursuit that lasted around two miles. The troopers attempted a PIT maneuver to disable Stephens' vehicle, and as it was spinning out of control, police say Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.

A patrol trooper was not able to stop in time and slid into Stephens' vehicle. There were no injuries to law enforcement or members of the public.

 

Police say 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. was the only victim.

Authorities said they aren't yet sure if Stephens had ties to the Erie area or what his activity was before he was located.

"We're making sure we go back and retrace as much as possible," Williams said.

The Godwin family tells Fox 8's Peggy Gallek after hearing the news of Stephens' death that they had prayed he would surrender to authorities. They said this was not the ending they wanted.

See the blog below for much more from the press conference.

Continuing coverage of this story here.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:36 pm

Chief Williams: We’ve talked before about people not living their lives on social media, and being truthful on social media and not harming people via social media. And this is a prime example. This is something that should not have been shared around the world, period. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:36 pm

Chief Williams: I think everybody has learned from this. I think people on social media kind of know the power, and I think they know the harm it can do.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:33 pm

Williams: This is something that should not have been shared around the world period. (Children, social media users) need to take this as a lesson. We can’t do this in this country. We just can’t do it.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:31 pm

Chief Williams: Thanks the many officers around the country for their help and the public for their help.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:29 pm

Chief Williams: This started with one tragedy and ended with another person ending their life…We would like to have brought Stephens in peacefully and talked to him about why this happened. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:28 pm

Chief Williams: Federal authorities were engaged in the Erie area earlier this morning after Stephens’ cell phone pinged off a tower there. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:27 pm

Chief Williams: Not sure of any ties Stephens has in the Erie area. Making sure we go back and retrace as much as possible. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:26 pm

Chief Williams: In Erie, Pa., there are a lot of remote area, woods, barns…so until we can get our investigators up there…we won’t know where he was and what he was doing. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:25 pm

Chief Williams: Still getting information from Pennsylvania State Police. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:24 pm

U.S. Marshal Pete Elliot: Thanks all the law enforcement for their dedication and service. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:22 pm

Chief Williams: During the chase, Stephens ended his life.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:21 pm

Chief Calvin Williams: At a little after 11 today, PA state police received a tip that the vehicle we were looking for…was in a McDonald’s parking lot near Erie Pa. Those officers responded, the vehicle fled…there was a short pursuit. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:21 pm

Jackson: Ultimately one of the things this taught us … that we cannot resolve this type of violence unless we function and operate and have the same compassion and commitment we’ve shown here as a community.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:19 pm

Jackson gives condolences to the Godwin family and thanks the community for their support.

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:19 pm

Mayor Frank Jackson: We have closure in regards to the search for Steve Stephens. 

Darcie Loreno April 18, 201712:01 pm

Cleveland police are expected to begin the press conference shortly