CLEVELAND - Cleveland police say they are searching for a homicide suspect who shared a video of the fatal shooting of an elderly man on Facebook.
Police say Steve Stephens shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., a retiree who was out collecting aluminum cans, Sunday and shared a video of the murder on Facebook Sunday afternoon. Authorities believe the two did not know eachother and the shooting was seemingly random.
74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr.
Stephens is described as a black male, 6-foot-1, 244 pounds and bald with a full beard. He is wearing a dark blue and gray- or black-striped polo shirt and believed to be driving a white- or cream-colored vehicle, according to police.
Chief Calvin Williams says detectives talked with Stephens by cellphone Sunday after he shot Godwin but haven't had contact since.
Authorities are telling people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on the lookout. They say Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous.
"At this point, he could be a lot of places," said Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI's Cleveland division. He could be nearby, far away or anywhere in between, Anthony said.
The video of the killing was posted on Facebook for about three hours before it was removed. Stephen's Facebook page apparently was deactivated later Sunday afternoon.
Stephens is a member of the assertive community treatment team at Beech Brook, a mental health organization in northeast Ohio, a spokesperson for his employer confirmed.
"We learned about [the shooting] this afternoon when someone saw it on FB and notified us," said Nancy Kortemeyer, vice president of marketing and PR at Beech Brook. "We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him."
She added: "We are shocked and horrified."
According to ABC News, people claiming to be related to the victim say they still cannot believe what has happened.
"He is a good guy, I mean, he would give the shirt off his back. And I'm not just saying that for cameras... but I'm telling you the truth. This man right here is a good man and I hate that he is gone," one man said.
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson called the incident a "horrific crime" and said that the company does "not allow this kind of content on Facebook."
The spokesperson added that the shooting itself was not broadcast on Facebook Live but was uploaded after the incident took place. The suspect did broadcast another video on Facebook Live at one point, the spokesperson said.
Cleveland police have issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder. Police say he should be considered armed and dangerous.
Stephens doesn't have a criminal record, police said.
Williams said anyone helping hide Stephens will also face charges. Williams said the only way to help Stephens is to give police the information to bring him in peacefully.
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