Steve Stephens, the man known now as the “Facebook killer,” led authorities on a nation-wide manhunt after he shot and killed a random man. He is now dead. He killed himself Tuesday in Erie County as cops attempted to apprehend him in a traffic stop. The Pennsylvania State Police have just released the announcement.
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Once Stephens was identified by the state police, they attempted a traffic stop. They were prepared for it to end violently, but “after a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself.”
Stephens gained fame when he not only shared a video on Facebook of himself shooting an innocent man, but also boasted to murdering at least 14 more. The video, posted Sunday afternoon, shocked the nation.
A warrant for aggravated murder had been issued, but police also asked that residents in Pennsylvania, Indiana, New York and Michigan to be on alert.
In his shocking video, one which police police believe to be real, Stephens drives up to a man identified by Cleveland police as 74-year-old Robert Godwin and says “finally found somebody I’m going to kill, I’m going to go kill this old dude,” then gets out and opens fire. Godwin’s son told cleveland.com that his father was on his daily afternoon walk when he was approached by Stephens. Although Stephens claimed on Facebook that he has now killed 15 people, Godwin is the only confirmed fatality.
Stephens, a mental healthcare manager, wrote on Facebook that he “messed up” by posting the video on social media and pinned the blame for his error in judgement on Joy Lane, a woman believed to be his ex-partner. Stephens even went as far as to claim that he would only stop if he received a phone call from Lane, an Air Force veteran, and his mother. Lane is reportedly in protective custody.
Stephens’ profile has since been removed from Facebook, the video only being accessible on his page for three hours. Stephens had previously filed for bankruptcy, blaming losses at the time on casinos, however, some of his original Facebook posts read “Easter day slaughter because of joy lane” and “I killed 12 people and I won’t stop unit my mother and joy lane call me,” among others. He later claimed to have killed another three, leaving their bodies in an abandoned house.
A Facebook representative delivered the following statement: “This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook. 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.”