Philadelphia News & Search
As police in several states are searching for the man who police say shot a Cleveland retiree and then posted video of the killing on Facebook, an unconfirmed sighting of the man in West Fairmount Park on Monday afternoon put several Philadelphia schools on lockdown.
Eight elementary schools in the 16th, 18th, and 19th police districts in West Philadelphia, in addition to Strawberry Mansion High School in the 22nd District, were on lockdown Monday afternoon.
Philadelphia police said they received “multiple 911 calls” stating that Stephens might be in the area of Belmont Plateau. But they also stated “so far there is no indication that the subject is in the plateau.”
Police have yet to verify the sighting. Law enforcement officials in New York, Indiana and Michigan are also on the lookout for Stephens, at the request of Cleveland police and U.S. Marshals. He was believed to be driving a white Ford Fusion with a temporary Ohio license plate No. E363630.
On Sunday, Steve Stephens, a 37-year-old job counselor for teens and young adults, allegedly killed Robert Godwin Sr., a 74-year-old former foundry worker, in a random shooting, the Associated Press reported.
Actual photo of Steve Stephens, homicide suspect’s, actual vehicle. Please call 9-1-1 if seen. Plate not yet available. pic.twitter.com/hn8a8nQEAP
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 16, 2017
Numerous police units responded to the site, where Godwin had been collecting aluminum cans, after a report that Stephens was broadcasting a live video of the murder. Facebook later said the video was not broadcast live; it was up for about three hours before being taken down, along with Stephens’ full Facebook page.
In another video, Stephens, who is wanted on a charge of aggravated murder, claimed that he was responsible for killing more than a dozen other people.
“I killed 13, so I’m working on 14 as we speak,” he said in that video.
Police, however, said the only victim linked to Stephens so far is Godwin, a father of 10.
Cleveland police searched dozens of places around the city and spoke with the suspect by cellphone. The motive for the shooting was not clear.
In the shaky Facebook video, Stephens told Godwin a woman’s name, Joy Lane, and said, “She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you.” Godwin did not seem to recognize the woman’s name. The suspect then pointed a gun at Godwin, who shielded his face with a plastic bag.
— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 17, 2017
Lane, when contacted by CBS, said of Stephens: “We had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened.”
Godwin apparently was out picking up cans in a plastic shopping bag when he was killed, his daughter said.
“Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did,” said 52-year-old Debbie Godwin. “That’s all he was doing. He wasn’t harming anyone.”
She said her father was a gentle man with nothing mean about him. “We called him the junk man,” she said. “He’d pick up things off the street and fix them. He picked up bikes and he fixed them.”
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” the company said. “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.”
Stephens worked at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency headquartered in Pepper Pike, near Cleveland. He helped young people develop job skills and find employment, said Beech Brook spokeswoman Nancy Kortemeyer.
An extensive background check before he was hired turned up nothing worrisome, she said.
Philadelphia News & Search