Sunday, April 16, 2017

Murder Live on Facebook

Today is the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shooting that resulted in 33 dead (32 students & staff, plus one shooter who died by suicide). The attacks received international media coverage. It was one of the first instances of the gunman directly involving the media with a mailing. On April 18, NBC aired the videotape and some pictures that it received from the killer, Seung-Hui Cho, that afternoon. The package, which NBC's Brian Williams called a "multimedia manifesto," was mailed between the two shooting episodes and was received at NBC's New York headquarters that afternoon, and they reported the package to the FBI.

In a ripple from a decade ago, this Easter Sunday April 16, 2017, was shaken by the live broadcast on Facebook of a Cleveland, Ohio, murder.

The name of the suspect is Steve Stephens, known as "Stevie Steve" on social media. He says he's flipped and created an "Easter Day Slaughter," although only one victim has been found and identified. He also claims he is going to randomly shoot “Greeks” in the head until he gets caught. Stephens said on his Facebook page he was a member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

Stephen is from the Greek name Στεφανος (Stephanos) meaning "crown," more precisely "that which surrounds." Saint Stephen was a deacon who was stoned to death, as told in Acts in the New Testament. He is regarded as the first Christian martyr. Due to him, the name became common in the Christian world.

The name of the one known victim is named Robert Godwin, 74.

The meaning of the name Godwin [Goodwin (English)] is originally from the Middle English personal name Godewyn, Old English Godwine, composed of the elements god "good" + wine "friend."

The suspect Steve Stephens broadcast the killing on Facebook Live around 2 p.m. ET, and has claimed to have committed multiple other homicides which are yet to be verified. The shooting happened at 635 East 93rd Street.

In the video, which has been removed from Facebook, the suspect pulls up to an elderly man who is walking on the side of the road. He tells the man to say a woman’s name and pulls out his gun. The elderly man repeatedly tells the suspect he doesn’t know the woman, but the suspect pulls the trigger, shooting the man in the head, leaving him bloodied in the street.

The suspect walks away and says the elderly man is dead because of the woman. The woman's name, Joy Lane, means, literally, "path to happiness."

Steve Stephens also blamed casinos, specifically the Jack Casino in Cleveland.

Authorities identified the suspect as Steve Stephens (above, pictured here on Easter), a 6-foot, 1-inch tall African American male with a full beard. He weighs 244 lbs. The suspect is believed to be wearing a dark blue and grey or black striped polo shirt. 

In a posted Facebook video, Stephens says that he is a case manager at Beech Brook (pictured above), a children’s behavioral health agency that is based in northeast Ohio. It is a facility that employs behavior modification techniques.

“For 165 years, Beech Brook has been serving Northeast Ohio’s most vulnerable children. Today, as a leading behavioral health agency, Beech Brook will serve more than 18,000 children and families this year,” the facility’s website says. “Beech Brook touches the lives of children, teens and families through an array of services ranging from prevention, education and early intervention to community-based programming to strengthen and support youth and families.”

In one of his videos, Stephens blamed his workplace for driving him to kill people.

“We are shocked and horrified like everyone else,” said Nancy Kortemeyer, a spokeswoman for Beech Brook said in a statement. “To think that one of our employees could do this is awful. … We don’t know anything more about it. We Hope and pray that he is arrested as soon as possible and we hope and pray for a resolution quickly.”

“Steve Stephens killed an elderly gentleman. I personally give my condolences to the family of the victim,” Cleveland Mayor Frank G. Jackson said during a press conference.

“We know who Steve Stephens is and he will be eventually caught. He need not to do anymore harm to any innocent people. Whatever concerns or problems that he’s having, we’re here to have a conversation,” the mayor said.

“We need Steve to turn himself in,” Police Chief Calvin D. Williams said. “We want this to end with as much peace as we can bring to this right now. If that doesn’t happen, we have all our partners in on this and will look until we find him.”

Williams said state, county and federal officials are helping with the capture of the suspect. As of this evening, there have been no sightings of the suspect.

Williams also said that there are no other victims and urges the public to come forward with any information. “We need to get Steve off the streets,” he said. “There’s no need for any more bloodshed.”

Police are searching for a white Ford Fusion that belongs to the suspect. They said the suspect was last seen south of Interstate-90 in the area of East 93rd.

Williams said the car was recently purchased and thinks there is a temporary tag and that the plates could have been switched.

Emergency staffers at the Cleveland Clinic is on standby for mass casualties.

Remember, this is the 10th anniversary of VA Tech, with experienced a media-involved shooting.


The live nature of a murder online is a first, according to media commentary. But it follows closely the almost immediate taping and spread of the August 26, 2015 shooting of WDBJ camearman Adam Ward and reporter Alison Parker, at Bridgewater Plaza, Moneta, Virginia.

The first-person shooter images that issued from that 2015 incident are quite similar to the Steve Stephens "kill shot" of Mr. Goodwin.

For more on that shooting, see:

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