ERIE, Pa. — The man wanted in connection with a fatal shooting after video of the incident was posted on Facebook is dead following a brief pursuit in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.
According to Pennsylvania State Police, officers received a tip around 11 a.m. when Steve Stephens’ vehicle was spotted at a McDonald’s in Erie.
According to employees at the restaurant, Stephens ordered a 20-piece McNuggets and a large order of fries in the drive-thru. He was given his order of McNuggets, but employees tried to make him wait for his fries after one of the workers recognized him.
“But he just took his nuggets and said, ‘I have to go,’ and he drove off,” Henry Sayers, the restaurant’s manager, told the New York Times.
An employee at the restaurant immediately called 911.
Troopers in marked patrol cars initiated a pursuit that lasted two miles. Troopers attempted a PIT maneuver to disable Stephens’ vehicle, and as it was spinning out of control, police say Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.
A patrol trooper was not able to stop in time and slid into Stephens’ vehicle. There were no injuries to law enforcement or members of the public.
The search for Stephens began on Easter Sunday after he shared a recording of himself announcing his plan to kill someone, then two minutes later posted another video of himself shooting and killing 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. A few minutes after that, he went live and confessed to the murder. “I snapped, I just snapped,” Stephens said.
Facebook said it disabled Stephen’s account within 23 minutes of receiving the first report about the video of the fatal shooting and two hours after receiving any report.
Godwin was a retired foundry worker who had 10 children. He was picking up aluminum cans after spending Easter with his family when he was shot. His family says they have forgiven Stephens, and they are sad he took his own life.
Police would not speculate on what was behind the killing, but videos Stephens posted showed him talking about losing everything he had to gambling and trouble with his girlfriend.
Stephens filed for bankruptcy two years ago despite holding down a job as a counselor helping young people develop job skills and find employment. The behavioral health agency where he worked said an extensive background check before he was hired turned up nothing worrisome.
Investigators said that Godwin was the only victim so far linked to Stephens, despite his claim on Facebook that he killed over a dozen people.