Belfast Telegraph

Manhunt for suspect in US Facebook video killing

By Staff Reporter

Authorities in several US states were last night on the lookout for a man believed to have shot an elderly father and then posted a video of the killing on Facebook.

Police said Steve Stephens (37) killed Robert Godwin Snr (74) while the pensioner was collecting aluminium cans in Cleveland, Ohio.

On day two of the manhunt, FBI agent Stephen Anthony said Stephens, a counsellor for young adults "could be nearby, he could be far away, or anywhere in between".

Investigators said Mr Godwin is the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite the suspect's claim in a separate video on Facebook that he killed more than a dozen people.

Officers have searched dozens of places around the city and spoke with the suspect by mobile phone, police said.

Police chief Calvin Williams warned residents to be on their guard as they went about their day. Authorities also warned people in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be alert for Stephens, who is wanted on a charge of aggravated murder.

Mr Godwin was apparently shot while out picking up cans in a plastic shopping bag, his daughter said.

"Not because he needed the money, it was just something he did," Debbie Godwin (52) said. "That's all he was doing. He wasn't harming anyone."

She said her father, who had 10 children, was a gentle man.

"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."

The motive for the shooting was not entirely clear from the shaky video, in which Stephens told Mr Godwin a woman's name and said: "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you."

The suspect then pointed a gun at Mr Godwin, who shielded his face with the plastic bag.

Facebook said the video was posted after the killing but was not broadcast on Facebook Live as police initially indicated.

The suspect did go live on the social media site at another point on Sunday.

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