Residents in four additional states were urged Monday to be on alert for a man accused of killing an elderly passerby at random and then posting the gruesome footage of the murder on Facebook.
Cleveland police warned residents of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on the lookout for Steve Stephens, 37, who they said may have crossed state lines, Fox News reports.
Authorities issued an arrest warrant for Stephens early Monday. He is charged with aggravated murder in the death of Robert Godwin.
The video purportedly shows Stephens getting out of his car and targeting Goodwin, 74, who is holding a plastic shopping bag. Stephens shouted the name of a woman, whom Godwin did not recognize.
“She’s the reason that this is about to happen to you,” Stephens told Godwin before pointing a gun at him. Godwin can be seen shielding his face with the shopping bag. The video of the killing was on the social media site for three hours before it was removed. Stephens account was also removed.
Facebook said the suspect did go live on the social media website at one point during the day, but not during the killing. Police earlier had said that Stephens had broadcast it on Facebook Live.
“This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook,” said a company spokesperson. “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.”
Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson and police Chief Calvin Williams urged Stephens to turn himself into authorities. Jackson said Stephens should refrain from doing “any more harm to anybody.”
Williams echoed Jackson’s sentiments. He urged Stephens to contact members of his church before hopefully turning himself in, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported.
“If Steve has an issue, then he needs to talk to some folks to get that resolved,” Williams said.
Police said they have been talking with family and friends of Stephens, who is a case manager at Beech Brook, a behavioral health agency headquartered in Pepper Pike, near Cleveland.
“We were shocked and horrified to learn of this news today,” agency spokeswoman Nancy Kortemeyer said in a statement. “We are hoping that the Cleveland Police will be able to apprehend Mr. Stephens as soon as possible and before anyone else is injured.”
In one of the videos, Stephens can be seen holding up his Beech Brook employee identification badge.
Stephens also mentioned his fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, in one of his Facebook posts. The fraternity issued a statement Sunday night.
“On behalf of the Supreme Council and the members of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Incorporated, we lift our sincere and heartfelt prayers and condolences of comfort to the families impacted by the recent shooting in Cleveland, Ohio,” it said.
Police said Stephens should be considered armed and dangerous.
The FBI said it was assisting in the investigation.