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[April-18] National manhunt underway for suspect in Facebook homicide video

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  • [April-18] National manhunt underway for suspect in Facebook homicide video

    The video showed Stephens ask Godwin how old he was, raise a gun and pull the trigger. The camera spun around; when the picture came into focus, Godwin was on the ground.

    It happened in less than a minute, and authorities said the men did not know each other.

    In the video, Stephens claimed to have killed more than a dozen people, police said, although they have not confirmed other victims. Authorities have issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder.

    In a second video, Stephens is seen on his cellphone, telling someone to go online to watch the footage.

    “I can’t talk to you right now. I f—– up, man,” he said.

    “I shamed myself,” he added in a video posted by Cleveland.com. “I snapped. Dog, I just snapped, dog. I just snapped. I just killed 13 motherf——, man. That’s what I did — I killed 13 people. And I’m about to keep killing until they catch me, f— it. … I’m working on 14 as we speak.”

    Stephens said he was killing people because of Lane.

    “She put me at my pushing point, man,” Stephens said in the video, laughing and calling it the “Easter Sunday Joy Lane massacre.”

    CBS News reported that it communicated with Lane via text message Monday.

    “We had been in a relationship for several years,” she wrote, according to the network. “I am sorry that all of this has happened. My heart & prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy … he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family Please respect our privacy at this time.”

    Williams, the police chief, said the woman is safe and has been cooperating with investigators during the rapidly expanding manhunt, but did not give other details.

    “We’ve interviewed several people involved in this and I don’t think there’s any rhyme or reason for what happened,” Williams told reporters Monday afternoon. “I don’t think there’s anything we can point to specifically to say that this is what sparked this. Only Steve knows that. Hopefully, we can find him soon and then we’ll get to talk to him and find out exactly why he did this.”

    Williams said earlier that authorities have followed numerous leads and searched various locations to no avail. “Our reach now is basically all over this country,” he said at the afternoon news conference.

    “Steve is still out there someplace,” the chief said earlier, adding: “We’re still asking Steve to turn himself in, but if he doesn’t, we’ll find him. We’re not going to stop until he’s in custody.”

    The police chief asked the public to call 911 with information and pleaded with those who know where Stephens is to report his whereabouts to authorities.

    “If there’s somebody that’s helping Steve, or if you think you’re helping Steve, you’re really not,” he said. “You’re going to get yourself in trouble, along with him. The only way for you to help him is to give us the information to bring him in safely, peacefully.”

    Williams said that early in the investigation, authorities had contact with Stephens via cellphone; but his last known location was the site where Godwin was killed.

    Stephens is considered armed and dangerous, and investigators have no evidence that he has switched vehicles or fled the state. Still, police said Monday that residents in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan should be on “alert.”

    Authorities described Stephens as a 6-foot-1, 244-pound black man, with a bald head and a full beard. He is “armed and dangerous,” police said. “If seen call 9-1-1. Do not approach.”

    Police said he was driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary Ohio tag number E363630.


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