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Facebook killer shoots himself dead, police report

18 April 2017 6:51 PM
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Facebook killer shoots himself dead, police report

911 call released after Facebook murder1:30

Cleveland police release audio from Sunday's Facebook shooting, where a dispatcher instructs the man on the phone to provide medical attention to victim Robert Godwin, Sr.

THE family of the man shot dead by the Facebook killer have expressed their anguish after the murderer took his own life.

Police confirmed on Tuesday that Mr Stephens died by a self-inflicted gunshot after a short police chase.

Robert Godwin Sr, 74, a father of nine and grandfather of 14, was shot in the head by Mr Stephens on Sunday while walking home after enjoying an Easter meal with his children.

Pennsylvania State Police tweeted that they found Mr Stephens Tuesday morning, US time, in Erie County, 165km northeast of the crime scene in Cleveland, Ohio.

“After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself,” police tweeted.

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams confirmed Mr Stephens’ death in a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Pennsylvania police received a tip after 11am that Mr Stephens’ car, a white Ford Fusion, had been spotted in a McDonald’s carpark near Erie.

The vehicle sped off when police approached and a short pursuit ensued before the vehicle was stopped.

“As the officers approached that vehicle, Steve Stephens took his own life,” Mr Williams said.

“We would prefer that it had not ended this way, because there are a lot of questions I’m sure that not only the family but the city in general would have had for Steve, as to why this transpired,” he said.

Mr Williams said the incident started with one tragedy and ended in another.

“We would like to have brought Steve in peacefully and really talked to him about why this happened, because there may be other people out there in similar situations that we can help by finding out why he did what he did and what drove him to this,” he told reporters.

“Everybody has learned from this. I think the people on social media kind of know the power and I think they know the harm it can do.

“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. And our kids, although they should not have seen this, I’m sure a lot have; they need to take this as a lesson.

Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson said the murder was a “loss of innocence” for the city.

“I want to emphasise the fact that this particular incident received a lot of attention, and rightfully so, because it was a loss of innocence [and an] innocent victim,” he said.

Mr Williams said Mr Godwin’s family were forgiving of his killer and “we need to follow their lead”.

While police have not discussed a motive for the shooting, Mr Stephens said in a Facebook video that he turned to violence because he was angry with his ex-girlfriend, Joy Lane.

In the shocking video of the murder, which has since been taken down from Facebook, Mr Stephens approaches Mr Godwin and asks him to repeat Joy Lane’s name saying, “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you”.

He pulls the trigger on the gun and the man falls to the ground, with blood rushing from his face.

Mr Stephens said in Facebook comments that he had killed 15 people in Cleveland, but the Federal Bureau of Investigation confirmed that Mr Godwin was the only victim.

Facebook chief executive officer Mark Zuckerberg briefly addressed the case at a conference in California on Tuesday, saying the site had “a lot of work to do” and “we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this”.


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