Home / National News / Cleveland Facebook killing reported in emotional 911 call: 'He’s dead … Lord have mercy'


(CLEVELAND) — “He’s dead … He’s lying there. Lord have mercy. Oh, my God,” a distraught-sounding Cleveland woman said to a 911 operator after she heard a gunshot and saw a man dead outside.

The woman dialed 911 Sunday afternoon in Cleveland after murder suspect Steve Stephens allegedly gunned down 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. and later posted a video of the killing on Facebook, according to police.

In another 911 call that day, a man reported: “Someone in front of my house has been shot … He’s unconscious, he’s dead.”

Stephens has been on the run since Sunday, and there have been no credible sightings of him, authorities said. The manhunt for Stephens, who is considered armed and dangerous, is now nationwide.

Stephens claimed to have committed multiple homicides, according to police, but no additional victims have been found.

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference this morning that authorities have received close to 400 tips and are following up on each one. He said calls have come in from as far away as Texas. Billboards around the country have been plastered with Stephens’ photo.

Williams urged people who may have seen Stephens to call 911, and anyone with information on the suspect to call the FBI’s tip line.

Chief Williams: We will follow up on EVERY tip. Please call 1-800-Call FBI with tips.
If you see Steve Stephens, dial 9-1-1.

— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 17, 2017

Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland Division, said, “Someone out there has a key piece of information that can help us resolve this matter. They just might not know it.” If in doubt, he said, call.

Facebook on Monday released a timeline of events connected to the suspect, according to its records:

11:09 a.m. PDT — First video, of intent to murder, uploaded. Not reported to Facebook.
11:11 a.m. PDT — Second video, of shooting, uploaded.
11:22 a.m. PDT — Suspect confesses to murder while using Live, is live for 5 minutes.
11:27 a.m. PDT — Live ends, and Live video is first reported shortly after.
12:59 p.m. PDT — Video of shooting is first reported.
1:22 p.m. PDT — Suspect’s account disabled; all videos no longer visible to public.
A Facebook executive on Monday said the company is reviewing some of its practices in light of the incident.

“It was a horrific crime — one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for,” Facebook VP of Global Operations Justin Osofsky said Monday. “As a result of this terrible series of events, we are reviewing our reporting flows to be sure people can report videos and other material that violates our standards as easily and quickly as possible.”

Godwin’s daughter, Tonya Godwin Baines, told ABC News the video “forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father’s eyes.”

Baines said it “feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable.”

Baines said her father was the epitome of a family man who “would give you the shirt off his back.”

“He taught us about God, he taught us love, forgiveness. Just to know that I will never ever hear my father’s voice again is devastating,” Baines said.

“We can never replace him,” she added, crying. “A part of us died with him.”

Her sister, Debbie Godwin, told ABC News, “I truly can say I don’t even feel any animosity against the guy that killed my father.

“I’m glad that my parents taught us to love people and to forgive even when they do us wrong,” she said. “My dad would be the kind of person that would say, ‘You gotta forgive.'”

“I want him to get help,” Debbie Godwin said of the suspected gunman.

Cleveland mayor Frank Jackson at a news conference this morning thanked the Godwin family “for their leadership” and “showing us the way in this situation.”

Jackson said the family “demonstrated even in this tragedy … that they have forgiven and that they have come together … they’ve asked us as a community to forgive and to begin to heal. Because what happened on Easter Sunday was traumatic.”

Jackson also said the clergy has “asked us to communicate to Steve Stephens that they are available to him” if he needs to talk.

Angela Smalls, who said Robert Godwin is the father of two of her children, is pleading for Stephens to turn himself in.

“He took my kids’ father from them and you’re still breathing out here? My babies are hurting,” a tearful Smalls said, according to ABC affiliate WEWS in Cleveland. “Let them get some peace. Just turn yourself in, please.”

Stephens visited the Sherwin Shooting Sports shooting range in Eastlake, Ohio last summer, a representative of the business told ABC News. Stephens had a concealed carry permit, police said, according to WEWS.

Police said Monday that authorities don’t have any reason to believe Stephens is not still driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary tag E363630.

UPDATE Homicide suspect Steve Stephens’ actual vehicle has Ohio Temp tag E363630 pic.twitter.com/tE3r5u4BNN

— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 17, 2017

A reward is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

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