The entire nation was looking for the Facebook killer when Steve Stephens pulled into a McDonald’s drive-thru near Erie, Pennsylvania. A hankering for 20 Chicken McNuggets and a side of fries would ultimately lead to the demise of the man known as the Cleveland Facebook killer.
The McDonald’s employees kept their cool once recognizing Steve Stephens as the suspect wanted for killing an elderly man and then posting the clip of the cold-blooded shooting on Facebook. Stephens’ face has been splashed across the news for the last few days. The employee at the drive-thru window was able to serve Stephens, call 911, and attempt to delay this dangerous customer while waiting for the police to arrive.
Stephens ordered the McDonald’s McNuggets, along with an order of fries, but the employee attempted to delay the suspect by telling him the fries will take another couple of minutes. However, he wasn’t about to wait. Stephens told the employee that he was in a hurry and then pulled away without the fries. Police had just arrived in the area, and a chase ensued for about five miles before Stephens was pushed off the road by a state police car. It was at this time that the Cleveland suspect put his gun to his head, taking his own life.
According to Cleveland 19 News, the employees weren’t 100 percent positive that the man sitting at the drive-thru window waiting for his order was Stephens. While the man at the window looked like the suspect, the employees also knew that Stephen’s cell phone was pinged from the Erie, Pennsylvania, area, which prompted them to go with their gut and call 911.
McDonald’s employee Henry Sayers said that Stephens acted normal, so you wouldn’t have known that he was the subject of a nationwide manhunt by his demeanor. He never gave himself away by acting nervous. After Stephens didn’t fall for the ploy that the fries would be delayed, he took off and pulled out onto the main street in front of the fast-food restaurant.
Sayers said that is when they first saw the police lights flashing, as the cops were in pursuit of the suspect as soon as he pulled onto Buffalo Street. This is the name of the road where this McDonald’s is located. Stephens was dead in just a matter of minutes from the time he picked up his Chicken McNuggets at McDonald’s. It was 11 a.m. Tuesday morning when Stephens pulled into the drive-thru and by 11:10 a.m. Stephens was dead.
According to the owner of the McDonald’s where Stephens stopped to purchase his food, it was a female employee who recognized Stephens when she saw him come to the drive-thru window. While Thomas DuCharme Jr., who is both owner and operator of that particular McDonald’s, didn’t give the employee’s name, he did refer to the employee as “she.”
DuCharme told reporters that Stephens seemed to know something was up. He said that he was “pretty sure he figured out that we were on to him. He didn’t want to wait for his fries.” Stephens was pronounced dead at the scene by Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook at 11:35 a.m., reports Go Erie News. As of lunchtime on Tuesday, Stephens car remained at the scene, and the State Police were awaiting a warrant so they could search his vehicle.
One of the questions asked was related to the $50,000 reward offered by Crime Stoppers. Will the employee who spotted Stephens and called the police be able to collect that reward?
According to the City of Cleveland, “In the event a reward is issued by Crime Stoppers, it will [be] handled through their regular protocol. We will not receive information on who gets the reward as it is anonymous.”
At a live press conference carried by Fox News on late Tuesday afternoon, police detailed the pursuit of Stephens as he left the McDonald’s restaurant. The police chief of Erie Pennsylvania spoke at this press conference, saying they would be nowhere in this case without the public’s help.
When police were in pursuit of Stephens in his car, it was a police officer that did a “pit maneuver” using a patrol car, which stopped Stephens. It was once Stephens was stopped that he pulled the trigger of the gun, killing himself before police approached the vehicle.
Police are very interested in Stephens’ whereabouts during the last few days. They don’t know if someone was helping him by harboring him in their home. During the press conference, authorities said there will be an autopsy on Stephens’ body and that will be done in Erie, Pennsylvania, where the chase ensued and where Stephens killed himself. According to Fox News live, Erie is about 100 miles away from Cleveland, where Stephens killed an elderly man randomly and then posted a clip of himself doing so on Facebook.
[Featured Image by M. Spencer Green/AP Images]