Pennsylvania state police said that Stephens was spotted Tuesday morning by officers and shot and killed himself after a “brief pursuit.”
During a press conference Tuesday afternoon, Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams told reporters that Pennsylvania police had received a tip from someone who said they saw a white Ford Fusion, the car police said Stephens was driving, in a McDonald’s parking lot. He added that as officers approached the area, Stephens took off in his vehicle and took his own life when officers approached his car following a short pursuit.
“Thank you to the brave @PAStatePolice troopers for their vigilance in pursuing the Facebook killer. Thankful no one in PA was hurt,” tweeted Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf after news of Stephens’ death broke.
Stephens was the subject of a nationwide manhunt throughout the day Monday and into Tuesday and was wanted on charges of shooting and killing 74-year-old Robert Godwin on Sunday, after Godwin stepped out following an Easter meal with his family.
Authorities had alerted residents across the nation that Stephens was thought to be “armed and dangerous” and driving a white Ford Fusion. Schools in Philadelphia were also put on lockdown Monday afternoon while police investigated reported sightings of Stephens in the nearby area, though the said there was no evidence that he had been there.
News of the murder went viral on Sunday, after Stephens posted a video of the killing to Facebook.
In the horrific video, which authorities confirmed was legitimate, Stephens could be heard driving down the road and saying, “Found me somebody I’m going to kill, this guy right here, this old dude.” Stephens then exited the car and approached Godwin.
He asked Godwin how old he was before pulling out a gun and pointing it at Godwin’s head. Godwin could be seen attempting to shield himself before Stephens fired the gun, killing Godwin. He then walked back to his car and drove off.
Stephens and Godwin did not appear to know each other, according to authorities.
“From what we can tell now, it’s just a random person that he picked out. We don’t know why,” Williams, the police chief, said on Monday.
Stephens’ mother told CNN that when she last saw him on Saturday, he told her that it would be “a miracle” if she ever saw him again. She added that when they spoke the next day, he told her that he was killing people because he was angry at his girlfriend. In another video Stephens recorded, he claimed to have murdered 13 people and said he was going to kill more.
“I snapped … I just snapped … I killed 13 people, and I’m about to keep killing until … until they catch me, f— it,” Stephens said on the phone, speaking to a friend or family member. He could also be heard encouraging the person on the other end to watch the video of the murder he’d uploaded on Facebook.
Facebook took the video down after it was uploaded and disputed reports that it had taken 3 hours for the video to be removed.