Cleveland Police: Steve Stephens dead from self-inflicted gunshot wound

Posted at 11:52 AM, Apr 18, 2017

The man known as the Facebook killer, Steve Stephens, died Tuesday morning of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Erie County, Penn.

Cleveland authorities held a press conference at noon on Tuesday in reaction to Pennsylvania State Police confirming the death of Stephens. 

Stephens was found about 100 miles outside of Cleveland. Authorities received a tip that Stephens white 2016 Ford Fusion was parked at a McDonalds in Erie.

Pennsylvania State Police say Stephens "was spotted just after 11 a.m. this morning by an alert citizen near the intersection of Buffalo Road and Downing Avenue in Erie County, Pennsylvania, which is less than two miles from PSP Troop E headquarters."   

"We want to thank the public," said FBI Special Agent In Charge Steve Anthony. Police believed it would be a tip from a citizen that helped bring an ending to the manhunt and it was. 

The daughter of Robert Godwin Sr., released the following statement in reaction to the death of Stephens.

Shortly after 11 a.m., there was a short police pursuit and when officers approached the vehicle, Stephens car spun in circles and that's when Stephens shot himself.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said anyone who has been to the Erie region before can attest there are many remote places to hide.

Throughout the search, social media played a role in the investigation. From the beginning, when Stephens recorded the shooting of Robert Godwin Sr. on Facebook, it spread like wildfire on social networks. Rumors circulated the internet, causing police to follow false leads.

During the Tuesday press conference, Williams hinted at the power of social media and the damage it can have in a situation like this one.

Local media in Erie have also reported the news. According to

"Erie police have confirmed the suicide in Erie on Tuesday of Steve Stephens, the Cleveland resident suspected of fatally shooting a Cleveland man on Sunday and posting video of the slaying on Facebook.

Stephens died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound while driving a white Ford Fusion near Buffalo Road and Downing Avenue around 11:10 a.m., police said." 

The shooting and the manhunt

Police say Stephens shot and killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. on Sunday on East 93rd Street. Then, he posted a video of the attack on his Facebook Page.

Cleveland police issued an aggravated murder warrant for Stephens. According to the warrant, Godwin was "simply walking down the street collecting cans" when he was shot. 

The video of the shooting was not broadcast live, as police originally reported. It was recorded and then uploaded to Facebook by Stephens, according to a Facebook spokesperson. In a statement, the spokesperson said the shooting was a "horrific crime."

The shooting happened on Easter Sunday around 2 p.m. Stephens also claimed to have committed multiple other homicides. That information has not been verified by police.

RELATED: More Steve Stephens coverage here

Police said Sunday night Stephens may have left the state and warned residents of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Michigan and New York to be on alert. Investigators searched dozens of locations to "no avail" with most tips leading to dead ends. Authorities spoke to Stephens via cell phone after the shooting. 

According to a CNN map (see below), Stephens' last cell phone ping was in Erie, PA.