US police hunt man who posted killing video on Facebook

The suspect is on the run and has claimed to have committed more than a dozen other killings

US police hunt man who posted killing video on Facebook

Image: AP/Press Association Images

Police are hunting an "armed and dangerous" man who appears to have shot dead a stranger in the street and uploaded it to Facebook.

The suspect, Steve Stephens, is on the run and has claimed to have committed more than a dozen other killings, according to police in Cleveland, Ohio.

The video shows a man pulling over in a car as he says "find me somebody to kill, gonna kill this guy right here. He's an old dude".

He gets out and asks the man: "Do me a favour: can you say Joy Lane?"

"Joy Lane?" he asks.

"Yeah," says the killer. "She's the reason this is about to happen to you." He then asks him how old he is.

The man goes silent for a few seconds, before saying " Look, I don't know anybody by that name" - as he tries to shield himself with a bag.

A gunshot is heard and the camera pans over the pavement to show the man lifeless on the ground with a head wound.

"That mother****** there because of you, Joy," says the killer - who then gets back in his car.

Police have named the victim as Robert Godwin Sr, 74.

The victim's son, Robert Godwin Jr, told that he father was probably collecting cans when he was killed.

"I haven't watched the video. I haven't even looked at my cellphone or the news," he said. "I don't really want to see it."

'No need for any further bloodshed'

The public is being warned not to approach Steve Stephens - who officials say works for a behavioral health agency that supports families and children.

He is described as a black male, 6ft 1ins and 244lbs with a full beard. He is believed to be driving a white Ford Fusion.

Stephens claimed in Facebook posts to have killed at least 14 people, but police said they had not yet found any more victims.

In a news conference, they appealed to him not to hurt anyone else, and to turn himself in.

"There's no need for any further bloodshed," they said.

Police believe he may have left Ohio and warned residents of the surrounding states of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on the lookout.

The video of the killing was up for about three hours before it was removed.

Police initially said Stephens had live streamed the killing on the social network, but Facebook later confirmed the clip had been uploaded.

The company called it a "horrific crime" and said that it worked hard to "keep a safe environment" on the site.

Growing number of cases

Facebook's live streaming service is being used increasingly to document incidents of crime, particularly in the US.

Last month, police in Chicago began investigating an alleged sexual assault broadcast on Facebook Live, in which it's believed up to 40 people watched the incident.

The video came to light after the girl's mother approached Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday. She told him her daughter had been missing for 24 hours, a police spokesman said.

In January, a judge refused to to bail four people accused of beating a man with learning difficulties and broadcasting the attack on Facebook Live.

The footage showed a woman laughing and smoking as others used a knife to tear the victim's clothes and cut his hair until his scalp bled.

He was bound, gagged, beaten and stabbed with a knife before the group shouted obscenities about President-elect Donald Trump and "white people".

During the attack, one of the accused - Jordan Hill - contacted the victim's mother and demanded $300 in exchange for her son, according to prosecutors.