A Cleveland man who police say walked up to a senior citizen and shot him at point blank range, then posted the video to Facebook was still at large Monday morning as the gruesome killing footage made its way around social media. Meanwhile, a woman who he is said to have targeted is being held in protective custody.
A man identified by police as Steve Stephens, 37, broadcast himself stalking, shooting and killing an elderly man on Facebook in an area near Cleveland State University. Earlier the video, which surfaced on Sunday, was thought to have been broadcast on Facebook Live, but a representative of the company told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that it was recorded and uploaded.
State, federal and local law enforcement authorities have been mobilized in the manhunt. Police believe he may have left the Cleveland area and could be in another state. His cellphone ping was picked up in Erie, Pa., about 100 miles east of Cleveland, according to CNN. He is considered armed and dangerous.
Stephens, who called himself “Stevie Steve” on Facebook said he had become angry because of relationship issues with a woman named Joy Lane. He also claims to have committed several other murders and hospitals have been standing by waiting for casualties, according to WOIO-TV.
Police identified the victim as Robert Goodwin Sr., 74. He was the father of nine children and grandfather of 14, according to his son, Robert Jr. “I haven’t watched the video. I haven’t even looked at my cellphone or the news,” Godwin told the Plain Dealer. “I don’t really want to see it.” He said his father did not know Stephens.
Officials had not identified any further victims by Sunday night. “We’ve checked several locations that were either in the [Facebook Live] post itself or from information we got. So far there are no more victims tied to Steve and this incident,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, according to the station.
“What happened today is senseless,” said Williams. “I know, Steve, that you have a relationship with some of our clergy in Northeast Ohio. I encourage you to give them a call and then call us and turn yourself in.”
In the video, which Facebook has taken down, Stephens is recording himself driving along a Cleveland roadway and identifies a man walking along the sidewalk to kill. He asks the man how he’s doing, then tells him he is going to be killed over Joy Lane while pointing a gun at him. He opens fire, leaving him dead, then gets back into his vehicle and drives off.
He later posts another video saying that he “f*cked up,” and that he had a lot of pent up “anger and frustration.” In other posts he said that the other killings he claimed actually happened and that he was committing the killings because of Lane. His Facebook page has been deactivated.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Authorities told the Plain Dealer that the woman being held in protective custody is Stephens’ girlfriend. Police say she is being “fully cooperative.”
Media update on shooting suspect Steve Stephens https://t.co/FTTPJW3X44
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 16, 2017
Stephens is described as a Black male, about 6-feet-1 inch tall, 240 pounds with a beard. He was driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary Ohio license plates, which authorities believe he purchased recently.
“I just want him caught,” Robert Godwin Jr. said. “Because he can do it to somebody else,”
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated.