Tragedy struck Cleveland, Ohio, on Easter Sunday. Around 2 p.m., Steve Stephens went on Facebook Live and broadcast himself shooting a 74-year-old man. The deadly shooting took place in the neighborhood of Glenville, on East 93rd Street, and it appeared that the victim was picked at random.
Cleveland police have identified the homicide victim from the Facebook video as 74-year-old Robert Godwin, Sr. The grandson of the victim, Ryan A. Godwin, took to Twitter a few hours after the shooting and asked people to stop sharing the video.
“Please please please stop retweeting that video and report anyone who has posted it! That is my grandfather show some respect #Cleveland,” he tweeted.
Please please please stop retweeting that video and report anyone who has posted it! That is my grandfather show some respect #Cleveland
— Ryan A. Godwin (@god_winr) April 16, 2017
The video stayed up on Facebook for nearly three hours before it was taken down and the suspect’s account was finally deactivated. Even after the video was taken down from Facebook, people were still posting it all over various social media sites.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” a Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed on Sunday. “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.”
The shooting suspect is 37-year-old Steve Stephens, who went by Stevie Steve on Facebook. He is described by authorities as a bald, 6-foot-1-inch black man weighing approximately 240 pounds. At the time of the shooting, the suspect was wearing a dark blue and gray or black striped polo shirt. Stephens is driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary tags.
After Stephens’ Facebook Live video ended, he stayed on Facebook and posted some status updates saying that he killed around 15 other people.
The shooting suspect is still on the run. Cleveland police say he is armed and dangerous and should not be approached if he is spotted. According to Cleveland Plain Dealer, the police are searching vacant homes in the neighborhood of East 105th Street and St. Clair Avenue for any signs of additional victims, but so far none have been found. Stephens posted on Facebook that the other bodies are located in an abandoned house in Cleveland.
“So far there are no more victims that we know that are tied to Steve and this incident. But we are still encouraging people that if you have information on Steve’s whereabouts or any other victims that may be out there, to definitely give us a call. Just call 911,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams.
The possible motive of the shooting could be connected to a relationship gone bad. In the Facebook Live video, you hear Stephens tell Robert Godwin, Sr. to say a woman’s name before he pulled the trigger. Stephens also posted that he won’t stop killing until his girlfriend and mother call him. The girlfriend is currently in protective custody and is fully cooperating with the investigation.
The 74-year-old victim was a father to nine children and a grandfather to 14, and even had great-grandchildren. His family appeared on some local Cleveland news stations and you can feel the pain that they are in. For such a random act of violence to happen is hard to comprehend.
Robert Godwin, Sr. was out walking on Sunday afternoon looking for aluminum cans to recycle. According to his family, it was something that he did often, and that was why he was carrying a plastic bag in the video that Stephens posted. Before he went out on a walk, he enjoyed an Easter dinner with loved ones.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by a self-described “kid” in Phoenix, Arizona, who saw the video on Facebook and wanted to help. He set up a goal of $20,000 and so far almost $10,000 has been raised.
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]