It was a beautiful, sunny day in Cleveland, Ohio, on April 16. Robert Godwin Sr. was walking in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood after enjoying an Easter meal with his family. As he was walking, he was approached by a stranger before being shot and killed by the unknown man. The entire incident took place on Facebook Live, and the video of the senseless murder stayed up on Facebook for almost three hours.
One of the children of Robert Godwin Sr. told WOIO that the 74-year-old grandfather was a good hearted man.
“It’s not real. (My father) was a good guy. He would give you the shirt off his back.”
Another family member could only say, “Feels like my heart is gonna stop.”
People are expressing their condolences on Facebook to the family of Godwin Sr. Beautiful drawings and paintings depicting the man have popped up all over social media. Another thing that has been expressed on social media is extreme anger with Facebook. The company allowed the video of the murder to be up on the site for nearly three hours. The social media giant is often quick to react when inappropriate music or photos are placed online. However, something as horrific as a murder went unnoticed.
Facebook has acknowledged the situation and released a statement.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” the company said in a statement. “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.”
Robert Godwin Sr. was a father to nine children, a grandfather to 14, and a great-grandfather to many. He was a retired foundry worker who enjoyed fishing and spending time with his family.
One of Godwin’s daughters has been posting some updates on her Facebook page. She asked that if anyone sees the video of the murder, please don’t share it. She also said that the family did not start a GoFundMe account, so if anyone is donating money to any of the accounts, it has not been created by the Godwin family. The grieving daughter posted a precious picture of her and her dad from Father’s Day 2015 and made it her profile picture.
The murder suspect, Steve Stephens, is still at large. The Cleveland Police Department held a press conference Monday morning to give an update on their search for Stephens. They said he likely left the state and could be in Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, or Michigan. He was last known to be driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary tags.
According to WKYC, Cleveland Police did make contact with Stephens after the murder. They contacted him via cell phone and tried to convince him to turn himself in. It is now believed that Stephens turned his cell phone off. Police are urging anyone who has any information on Stephens’ whereabouts to contact police immediately.
On his Facebook video and subsequent Facebook posts on Sunday, Stephens said that he killed at least a dozen other people and placed them in an abandoned home. Investigators followed up on the claim but have not found any other victims. At this time, Cleveland Police believe that Robert Godwin Sr. is the only homicide victim.
This week will be an unbearable one for the Godwin family. Through their sadness and grief, they will have to come together and make the necessary arrangements to honor their loved one’s life. All of this while police are still out searching for the man who caused their pain. The sooner he is caught, the sooner the family can begin the healing process.
[Featured Image by Mark Duncan/AP Images]