Thu, Apr 20, 2017 - Page 7 News List

Facebook killer hunt ends in McDonald’s sighting and suicide

NY Times News Service

Two days after an extraordinary crime, a murder that the killer recorded on video and posted to Facebook, it was a hankering for something as reassuringly normal as a McDonald’s meal that tripped him up on Tuesday, when a manhunt ended with a tip-off to police, a brief chase and the gunman’s suicide.

The search for Steve Stephens had spread across a wide area of the nation, with false sightings reported in eastern Pennsylvania, Maryland, Indiana, Michigan and Texas, but he ended his life near Erie, Pennsylvania, about 160km from Cleveland, where on Sunday he walked up to a stranger, Robert Godwin Sr, fatally shot him and then posted the video for the world to see.

Driving a white Ford Fusion sedan, Stephens, 37, pulled into the drive-thru lane of a McDonald’s on Buffalo Road at about 11am and bought 20 chicken McNuggets and a large order of french fries, Henry Sayers, the restaurant manager, said in an interview.

After a worker recognized Stephens, the restaurant staff tried to stall him by holding on to his fries while calling the police.

“But he just took his nuggets and said: ‘I have to go,’ and he drove off,” Sayers said, adding that Stephens did not speed away.

Pennsylvania State Police troopers, joined by officers from the borough of Wesleyville, chased Stephens for about a 1.5km along Buffalo Road, state police said.

In front of an abandoned school, a state trooper bumped a rear corner of Stephens’ car.

As his car spun to a stop, “Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head,” state police said in a statement on Facebook.

The suicide left investigators with no ready explanation for the story.

In his video, he said he was looking for someone to kill and settled on Godwin apparently at random. He demanded that his victim say the name of Stephens’ girlfriend and added: “She’s the reason this is about to happen to you.”

In another video, he said that he had killed multiple people, but police said there was only one known victim.

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