TWINSBURG — Accused Facebook murderer Steven Stephens has killed himself after a brief pursuit by Pennsylvania State Police and other agencies in the Erie, Pa., area, according to Pennsylvania State Police.
"Steve Stephens was spotted this morning by PSP members in Erie County. After a brief pursuit, Stephens shot and killed himself," the Pennsylvania State Police said via social media at about 11:40 a.m. April 18.
Stephens' ex-girlfriend lists a Ridge Meadow Court address as her home, according to Twinsburg police, and Stephens may have been at the home just days before his reportedly random Easter Sunday shooting of 74-year-old Cleveland man Robert Godwin Sr.
Godwin was allegedly shot by Stephens at 635 East 93rd Street in Cleveland, apparently at random, according to Stephens himself on Facebook. A warrant had been issued for aggravated murder in the matter, according to Cleveland police.
Throughout what became a national manhunt, police watched the home, located at an apartment complex off East Idlewood Drive, and increased their presence April 18 at the city’s five schools, according to Twinsburg Police Chief Chris Noga.
“It’s been a busy couple days for us. We’re asking everyone to be vigilant,” Noga said April 18.
Some reports indicated Stephens, 37, was at the ex-girlfriend’s Twinsburg home recently, perhaps the day before his April 16 Facebook rant on the couple’s breakup and subsequent murder of Godwin.
“I understand that the suspect either frequented or recently lived in the city of Twinsburg,” Twinsburg City School District Superintendent Kathryn Powers said in an April 17 Blackboard Connect message to district parents.
The department added “additional protection” for the Twinsburg School District, at Bissell Elementary School, Wilcox Primary School, Dodge Intermediate School, R.B. Chamberlin Middle School and Twinsburg High School. Noga has been to the schools, and school resource Officers Ron Fruscella (Twinsburg High School) and Greg Kopniske (R.B. Chamberlin) remain on site.
“We are pulling from our patrol to provide a presence,” Noga said. “Safety and security are our mission.”
Powers sent out the Blackboard Connect message to all parents April 17, asking parents and students to be vigilant, but to proceed with normalcy. All extracurricular activities for April 17 went forward and those set for April 18 are proceeding as planned, Powers said.
“Given the fact that Sunday’s tragic event raised the concerns and anxiety of our residents, and as an extra precaution, the Twinsburg Police Department will provide additional police presence at this afternoon’s athletic events as well as throughout the school day tomorrow. This will include additional police presence during recess for our elementary school students,” the Blackboard Connect message reads.
Powers said she received calls from parents April 17 who were concerned about “how to help protect our kids.”
“We made the decision to officially request an increased presence from police,” Powers said April 18. “We are in contact with local authorities, and we have our emergency management plan. Thanks to the assistance from the Twinsburg police, it’s been business as usual. There’s nothing more important to any of us than our children.”