Easter Sunday was anything but peaceful in Cleveland when Steve Stephens live-streamed a video of him shooting a man to death on Facebook Live.
While the video was eventually taken down for obvious reasons, it took about three hours in total for the video to be removed, likely garnering thousands of views before its removal from the site, Fortune reports. Dubbed an “Easter Day Slaughter,” Stephens claims in another live video to have killed 13 people, and was “working on 14 as we speak,” the Associated Press confirms. However, authorities have no viable evidence besides the video that there are any other victims.
Facebook has since removed Stephens’ profile from the site and has spoken to the Associated Press about the incident.
A company spokesperson said, “[T]his is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook. 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.”
Facebook has received criticism in the past year for its Facebook Live uploading feature, as there are few regulations as to what can be posted. On many occasions, it has been used for filming grisly suicides or deadly accidents. As Business Insider reports, in the past, a man in Mumbai live-streamed his suicide by jumping off a bridge. In another incident, a woman was filming when her young child killed himself and another man with a handgun. In a third example, a young woman was filming while driving, resulting in a fatal car crash that was streamed live for the world to witness.
The fact that the social media website took three hours to remove the public slaying troubles many people. This incident is perhaps the most terrifying of the occurrences, as it sparked a nationwide manhunt for the murderer. Reports had him last in Philadelphia, and schools in the area were locked down as a precaution, according to Global News. However, further reports have denied these rumors and declare that there is no indication that he is in the city of Philadelphia.
The victim of the crime has since been identified as 74-year old Robert Goodwin Sr., and no motive is yet known. Furthermore, authorities have no other reason besides Stephens’ own claim to believe that there were other victims besides Goodwin Sr. Before the senseless killing, Stephens mentioned a woman by the name of Joy Lane, saying she was the reason he was going to murder Goodwin. It was later revealed that she was his ex-girlfriend.
In a statement by Lane, she claims that Stephens “was a really good guy.” Furthermore, she is “overwhelmed” by the violent murder and offers her sympathies to everyone grieving, Time reports. According to her, she and Stephens were in a relationship for “several years” and he has always been “fabulous” to her. From the sound of it, this violent act of murder is out of character for Stephens, based on what she knew about him in their years-long relationship. Lane declined to comment further on the subject. It remains unclear how, if at all, she drove him to murder Goodwin Sr., and everything is still very much a mystery.
In a police update posted on the Cleveland Police Twitter account, authorities say Stephens could be just about anywhere and that they will follow up on every tip given to them by the public.
What are your thoughts on Facebook Live? Should there be tougher restrictions for what is posted on the site? Sound off in the comments section below!
[Featured Image by Carl Court/Getty Images]