The Pennsylvania State Police provided details about their brief but dramatic pursuit of Facebook Killer suspect Steve Stephens, which ended with the suspect taking his own life on Tuesday. As news of his suicide spreads, the family of his victim, Robert Godwin, Sr., are asking why the innocent man had to lose his life first.
In update on the police department’s Facebook page, Pennsylvania State Police Troop E reported that Stephens was spotted by a tipster less than two miles from the station’s headquarters. Earlier reports specified the suspect’s car was spotted in a McDonald’s parking lot.
PSP troopers immediately began to canvas the area for Stephens and located him in his vehicle a short time later. Troopers in marked patrol units initiated a pursuit that lasted approximately two miles. The troopers attempted a PIT maneuver to disable Stephens’ vehicle, a white Ford Fusion. As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head.
A PIT maneuver, or Precision Immobilization Technique, is a tactic in which one vehicle will force another vehicle to make a sharp sideways turn, causing the driver to lose control of the car. It appears to have been successful, and PSP said in the Facebook update that a pursuing officer slid into the suspect’s car, causing minor damage.
On Sunday, Stephens is believed to have shot and killed Robert Godwin, Sr., a 74-year-old Cleveland grandfather, before posting a video of the brutal killing on Facebook. Angela Small, who is reportedly the mother of Godwin’s two youngest children, told Cleveland 19 that she doesn’t understand why Stephens killed her children’s father just two days before taking his own life.
“Why couldn’t he have done that in the first place?” Small said to a reporter through tears.
— Chris Reymann (@reymannchristop) April 18, 2017
Photo: Cleveland 19 video screenshot