Police: Suspect in Facebook murder has fatally shot himself

(USA TODAY) -- Steve Stephens, the suspect who posted video of a brutal killing on Facebook, fatally shot himself Tuesday in Pennsylvania, State Police said.
 
"Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County," Pennsylvania State Police tweeted. "After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself."
 
Cleveland’s police chief said earlier Tuesday authorities had received more than 400 tips as they hunt for Stephens.
 
"This is a nationwide search, and we are getting calls from all over the country, as far away as Texas," Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a morning press conference.
 
Stephens, 37, had been charged with aggravated murder in the shooting death of Robert Godwin on Sunday.
 
"If you think you see Steve out there or if you think you spotted his vehicle, we want you to call 911 right away," Williams said hours before the manhunt had concluded.
 
Godwin's family said Monday they forgave the alleged gunman.
 
"Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer," Tonya Godwin-Baines, a daughter of the 74-year-old victim, told Cleveland TV station WJW on Monday. "We want to wrap our arms around him."
 
Cleveland police said Stephens posted a horrifying video of the apparently random killing of the father of 10 and grandfather of 14. It was later removed.
 
A son, Robert Godwin Jr., said: "Steve, I forgive you ... I'm not happy (with) what you did but I forgive you."
 
Fact vs. fiction in manhunt for suspected Facebook killer
The family pleaded with Stephens to turn himself in. "To the young man who murdered my daddy,” Godwin-Baines told the TV station, “I ask that you please surrender. I forgive you and love you, but most importantly, God loves you. God can heal your mind and save your soul.”
 
The family’s words came as authorities intensified their hunt for Stephens, expanding the search nationwide.
 
In addition, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson had announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the arrest of Stephens in the Easter Sunday shooting. The alleged shooter also claimed to have killed at least a dozen other people, although police said they have no evidence of it.
 
The claim came when detectives contacted Stephens on his cellphone shortly after the shooting but were unable to convince him to turn himself in. Williams, said officers and the FBI have searched dozens of possible locations for Stephens to no avail. No other victims have been found, Williams said, but he warned that Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous.
 
 

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