Cleveland Facebook Killer: Spotted at McDonald's, Steve Stephens Shoots Self Dead After Pa. Police Chase
Pennsylvania State Police investigate the scene where Steve Stephens, the suspect in the random killing of a Cleveland retiree posted on Facebook, was found shot dead on April 18, 2017, in Erie. Pa.Greg Wohlford / Erie Times-News via AP
Breaking News Emails
Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
An eagle-eyed drive-through attendant at a McDonald’s in Erie, Pennsylvania, recognized Steve Stephens after he pulled up in his white Ford Focus and ordered McNuggets and French fries, the franchise’s owner said. That’s when quick-thinking employees tried to stall him, holding on to his fries while they called the cops.
Stephens was in no mood to wait, driving off with his McNuggets after apparently realizing he’d been spotted. But it wasn’t long before state police officers were on his tail, leading to a brief car chase that ended with Stephens shooting and killing himself — a grim finale to a three-day manhunt that had started some 100 miles away.
“I’m just very proud of my staff and how they handled it,” said Tom Ducharme, the owner of the McDonald’s franchise.
The state police on Tuesday afternoon credited a “concerned citizen” with the crucial tip that led them to Stephens, who had been on the run since Sunday after fatally shooting Robert Godwin, 74, in Cleveland and uploading the disturbing video to Facebook.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, whose city was rocked by the apparently random killing of a beloved grandfather, said he was grateful the hunt was over, but would have preferred that the suspect had been found alive.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
“This started with one tragedy, and ended with another person taking their own life,” Williams said. “Loss of life is a loss of life.”
In a series of posts Sunday on what authorities said was Stephen's Facebook page, the suspect complained he had "lost everything" to gambling. The posts named specific people with whom the user wanted to speak. Stephens also allegedly wrote that he "killed 12 people today" before later adding, "I killed 15 today" and referred to the purported slayings as his "Easter day slaughter."