What to Know
- Residents in NY are among those in several states told to look out for Steve Stephens, the suspect in a killing that was posted to Facebook
- In the video, which appears shaky, Stephens gets out of his car and appears to randomly target Robert Godwin Sr., 74
- Facebook said the suspect did go live on the social media website at one point during the day, but not during the killing
New Yorkers are being warned to look for a man they said shot and killed an elderly passerby seemingly at random in Cleveland, Ohio, and then posted a gruesome video of the killing on Facebook.
Authorities in several states were on the lookout Monday for 37-year-old Steve Stephens, who police say shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr., a Cleveland retiree collecting aluminum cans, and then posted video of it on Facebook.
"He could be nearby. He could be far away or anywhere in between," FBI agent Stephen Anthony said on Day 2 of the manhunt for Stephens, a job counselor for teens and young adults.
Police said Stephens killed Godwin, a former foundry worker, on Sunday.
Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite the suspect's claim in a separate video on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.
Officers searched dozens of places around the city and spoke with the suspect by cellphone, police said.
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
Police Chief Calvin Williams warned residents to be careful as they go about their day.
Authorities also warned people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be alert for Stephens, who was wanted on a charge of aggravated murder.
The NYPD's Community Affairs Bureau released a sheet Monday warning neighbors to "Be on the Lookout!" The sheet described Stephens as armed and dangerous and driving a white Ford Fusion.
In a rambling video, Steve Stephens said, "I snapped, I just snapped." But as the manhunt dragged on Monday, police were unable to explain what set him off.
"Only Steve knows that," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said as authorities posted a $50,000 reward for Stephens' capture.
In the video, Stephens blamed a former girlfriend he had lived with, saying he woke up last week and "couldn't take it anymore." But in a statement Monday, the woman shed little light on what might have gone wrong and said Stephens was good to her and her children.
As for the shooting victim, Godwin appeared to have been selected at random, gunned down while picking up aluminum cans Sunday afternoon after spending Easter with some of his children.
A manhunt that started in Cleveland's gritty east side expanded rapidly into a nationwide search for Stephens, police said.
Law enforcement officials said his cellphone signal was last detected on Sunday afternoon in Erie, Pennsylvania, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of Cleveland.
Police reported getting dozens and dozens of tips, and nine schools in Philadelphia were locked down Monday while authorities investigated possible sightings of Stephens. But they said there was no sign he was actually there.
Some of those who know Stephens described him as pleasant and kind, while some said he had a gambling problem. He filed for bankruptcy two years ago.
"He got along with everybody, so it's just unbelievable what happened," said Alexis Lee, a friend who saw Stephens last week.
The police chief said: "We are not going to pinpoint a specific thing and say this is what triggered this, because we don't know."
Godwin's daughter said he was killed while collecting cans in a plastic shopping bag.
"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, who had 10 children, was a gentle man with nothing mean about him.
In the shooting video, Stephens told Godwin a woman's name and said, "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you." The victim did not seem to recognize the woman's name. The gunman then pointed a weapon at Godwin, who shielded his face with the plastic bag.
The woman Stephens spoke of, Joy Lane, said in a text to CBS that "we had been in a relationship for several years. I am sorry that all of this has happened." She said Stephens was "a nice guy" who was generous to everyone.
The video of the killing was on Facebook for about three hours before it was taken down.
Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite his claim in a separate video on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.
Detectives spoke with Stephens on Sunday by cellphone and tried to persuade him to surrender, police said.
Stephens worked at Beech Brook, a social service agency in suburban Cleveland that deals with vulnerable young people. He helped them gain 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.
Stephens filed for bankruptcy in January 2015. His attorney at the time, Trent Binger, said Monday that he remembered Stephens discussing gambling problems.
"He was an easy client to deal with," Binger said. "Always respectful to me ... well-mannered."