Facebook murder 911 calls released


The 911 call made on Sunday after a distraught woman heard a gunshot and saw a man lying on the ground outside was released to the public on Tuesday. “He’s dead … He’s lying there. Lord, have mercy. Oh, my God,” the Cleveland woman told a 911 operator.

Steve Stephens allegedly shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in the head and then posted a video of the murder on Facebook.

Another 911 call came in that day with a man reporting that “[s]omeone in front of my house has been shot … He’s unconscious, he’s dead.”

In his Facebook post, Stephens claimed to have committed multiple homicides, but police have not found any other victims.

UPDATE: Authorities launched a nationwide manhunt, and Tuesday morning they finally located Stephens in Pennsylvania.   After a brief pursuit, Stephens stopped his car and fatally shot himself.

According to Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams, authorities received nearly 400 tips from all over the country.

Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson thanked the Godwin family “for their leadership” and “showing us the way in this situation” during a news conference, saying that the family has “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.”

A timeline of events connected to the suspect was released by Facebook:

  • 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 FB Live, is live for 5 minutes.
  • 11:27 a.m. PDT — FB Live ends, and Live video is first reported, shortly after.
  • 12:59 p.m. PDT — Video of shooting is first reported.
  • 13:22 p.m. PDT — Suspect’s account disabled; all videos no longer visible to the public.

The incident has caused Facebook to review some of its practices.

“It was a horrific crime— one that has no place on Facebook, and goes against our policies and everything we stand for,” said Facebook VP of Global Operations, Justin Osofsky, on 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 reporters, “The video forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father’s eyes. It feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable.”

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