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steve stephens

Mark Zuckerberg has paid his respects to the family of Robert Godwin, whose killing was filmed and posted on Facebook.

“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Robert Godwin Sr.,” said Mark Zuckerberg near the start of Facebook’s annual F8 developers conference.

Mark Zuckerberg’s social network had been criticized over the amount of time it had taken to take the clip offline.

About an hour before the event got underway, police had revealed that the murder suspect, Steve Stephens, had killed himself.

Steve Stephens had been the subject of a national manhunt.

The murder suspect was believed to have uploaded a video to Facebook showing his killing of 74-year-old Robert Godwin in Cleveland on April 16 and then boasting on subsequent Facebook Live streams that he had killed others.

Facebook subsequently acknowledged it had taken it more than two hours to remove the clips after the first video was posted, despite it having received complaints in the interim.

“We have a lot of work and we will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening,” added Mark Zuckerberg.

Image source Facebook

Cleveland’s police chief had referred to Facebook’s role in a separate press conference.

“I think the people on social media kind of know the power and I think they know the harm it can do,” said Calvin Williams.

“We’ve talked before about people not living their lives on social media and being truthful on social media and not harming people via social media.

“And this is a prime example, this is something that should not have been shared around the world. Period.”

Mark Zuckerberg went on to introduce new plans to include augmented reality experiences in Facebook apps, such as Messenger.

He suggested that, in the near future, it would be far more common to place digital objects in video and live streams viewed on mobile phones.

Animated artworks could be made visible at a particular physical location, for example, via the camera view of an app.

“Augmented reality is going to help us mix the digital and physical in all new ways,” he said.

“That’s going to help us make our physical reality better.”

3D filters that can be placed into real-life scenes, not unlike those unveiled by rival Snapchat, were also demoed.

New virtual reality experiences making use of the Oculus Rift headset were also detailed, including:

  • Facebook Spaces – where friends can hang out together in VR
  • avatars that are intelligently customized to suit users, based on their Facebook profile pictures
  • the ability to “call in” to Facebook Spaces with Messenger video calls if users do not have a VR headset

Facebook also announced improvements to its Messenger platform to encourage the use of bots – a facility first unveiled in 2016.

The software tools can be deployed by businesses to interact with customers in an automated manner, potentially allowing them to employ fewer call centre staff.

Facebook said 100,000 bots had been developed for Messenger to date.

The changes include:

  • the ability for users to add a business’ bot to a group chat, so several people can interact with it at once
  • support for QR codes, which can be displayed at events and be photographed by phones to activate associated bots that can answer questions about what is on show
  • the introduction of a “discover” tab to Messenger’s home screen, which shows recently used bots and ones that are currently popular with others

Messenger has also added the ability to include Spotify extensions, allowing music to be shared and played within chats, and said Apple Music would also be supported shortly.

Steve Stephens, who was suspected of randomly shooting a grandfather on an Ohio street and posting video of the killing to Facebook, has taken his own life, police say.

The 37-year-old man was spotted on April 18 in Erie County, Pennsylvania State Police tweeted.

“After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself,” police tweeted.

Steve Stephens allegedly shot dead 74-year-old Robert Godwin as the victim walked home from Easter lunch on April 16 in Cleveland.

The suspect’s mobile phone signal was last tracked on Sunday afternoon to Erie, Pennsylvania, 100 miles from where police say he shot Robert Godwin.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson told a news conference: “We have closure in regards to the search for Steve Stephens.”

City police chief Calvin Williams told reporters that Pennsylvania State Police received a tip-off shortly after 11:00 on April 18.

Image source Facebook

Steve Stephens’ white Ford Fusion car had been spotted in the car park of a McDonald’s in the city of Erie, he said.

Calvin Williams said there was a brief police chase after which the suspect’s car stopped.

Steve Stephens took his own life with his gun as officers approached his vehicle, and was pronounced dead at the scene, added the police chief.

Calvin Williams said: “We would like to have brought Steve in peacefully and really talk to him to find out exactly why this happened… find out why he did what he did and what drove him to this.”

Steve Stephens had been added to the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List as the manhunt was extended from five states to nationwide.

Earlier in the day, police said that authorities had received more than 400 tips, including as far away as Texas.

The family of Robert Godwin – a father of 10 and grandfather of 14 – said on April 17 they forgave the suspected killer.

His daughter, Tonya Godwin-Baines, had urged Steve Stephens to surrender.

“Each one of us forgives the killer, the murderer,” she told Cleveland TV station WJW.

“We want to wrap our arms around him.”

“I forgive you and love you, but most importantly, God loves you. God can heal your mind and save your soul,” she said.

The victim’s son, Robert Godwin Jr., said: “Steve, I forgive you… I’m not happy what you did, but I forgive you.”

Cleveland officials had announced a reward of up to $50,000 for information leading to the suspect’s arrest.

Facebook has launched a review of its procedures after criticism that the footage stayed on the site for hours.

Facebook’s vice-president of global operations, Justin Osofsky, said the first complaint made about the video showing the killing came nearly two hours after it was posted.

However, Justin Osofsky added: “We know we need to do better.”


Steve Stephens, the suspect who police say murdered a grandfather and posted the video on Facebook, is a self-described “monster” who blames others for his problems.

The 37-year-old man, who worked as a case manager for a children’s mental healthcare facility in Ohio, said in another video posted online that he had “just snapped”.

Steve Stephens, who police say had no criminal history, spoke of having “messed up” and also complained about gambling debts.

He wrote in a post on his now-deleted Facebook page: “I lost everything I ever had due to gambling at the Cleveland Jack Casino and Erie Casino.”

Steve Stephens said it was the fault of his ex-girlfriend, Joy Lane, that he had carried out April 16 apparently random shooting of 74-year-old grandfather Robert Godwin.

In a Facebook video broadcast from his car after the killing, Steve Stephens says: “You see, the thing is, man, I’m 37 and all my [expletive] life, man, I’ve always been a [expletive] monster, man.

“Always had to prove myself, always had to take the butts of people’s jokes. Just killing [expletive], man, and all because of this [expletive] called Joy Lane.

“She put me at my pushing point, man. You know, I was living over there with her, just woke up Friday, I just couldn’t take it no more, man.

“I just left, and yeah, here I am, massacring [expletive].” He laughs.

Image source Facebook

Joy Lane is now in protective custody.

Steve Stephens claimed to have killed more than a dozen other people, but police have so far been unable to verify his claims.

In the same video, broadcast from his car, Steve Stephens films himself on a phone telling an unidentified person that he feels “built-in anger and frustration”.

In another Facebook video rant shortly before the shooting, Steve Stephens also blames his mother.

He said he had told her beforehand that he was feeling “suicidal” and planning “to kill some people”.

“Didn’t care,” Steve Stephens said of his mother’s reaction.

He said she was “the one who created this [expletive] monster that I am”.

“I’m beat,” he adds, “I’m tired.”

His mother, Maggie Green, told CNN she last saw her eldest child a day before the shooting.

She said Steve Stephens had told her: “If you see me again, it’ll be a miracle.”


Cleveland police are searching for a suspect who fatally shot a “random” victim and posted the footage on Facebook.

Steve Stephens, 37, later said in a separate video post that he had killed 13 people and was looking to kill more.

Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams confirmed one killing but said they did not know of any other victims.

Calvin Williams said that “multiple forces” were looking for Steve Stephens, who “needs to turn himself in”.

The victim has been identified by Cleveland police as Robert Godwin, 74.

At a news conference on April 16, police chief Calvin Williams said: “There is no need for any further bloodshed in this incident tonight.

“We need to bring this to a conclusion today.”

He added: “We need to get Steve from the streets.”

He said that authorities had put out alerts “in the state of Ohio and beyond” over the “senseless” incident, and urged people not to approach the suspect, who he said was likely to remain armed and dangerous.

Image source Facebook

The Cleveland PD issued a photo of Steve Stephens on its website, describing him as a 6ft 1in (1.9m) tall black male of medium complexion.

Steve Stephens is thought to be driving a white or cream-colored SUV.

Calvin Williams said that the victim appeared to have been selected at random in what he described as a “senseless” murder.

He added that Steve Stephens “clearly has a problem” and urged him to come forward in order to “receive the help that he needs”.

The FBI is collaborating with local police as it investigates the incident, CNN reports.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson said that he wanted Steve Stephens to know that “he will eventually be caught”.

A fundraising page set up to help the family of Robert Godwin had received more than half of its target of $20,000 within hours of publication.

Facebook said in a statement on April 16 that it co-operates fully with the authorities in incidents where there are “direct threats to physical safety”.

Responding to the reports involving Steve Stephens, Facebook said that it was “a horrific crime”, adding that it “does not allow this kind of content” on its site.

It is not the first time that a fatal shooting has been posted or streamed on Facebook.

In June 2016, a man was shot dead while live-streaming a video of himself on the streets of Chicago. In March, an unidentified man was shot 16 times while broadcasting live.

Facebook’s live-streaming feature, which was launched in 2010, allows anyone to broadcast online in real time.