April 18 (UPI) -- Steve Stephens, accused of posting a Facebook video showing him killing a man in Cleveland, died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound Tuesday, Pennsylvania State Police said.
A trooper spotted Stephens in his white Ford Fusion around 11 a.m. in Erie County. Stephens shot and killed himself after a brief pursuit, the state police announced on Twitter.
"We're grateful that this has ended," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a noon news conference. "We would prefer that it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions, I'm sure, that not only the family but the city in general would have had for Steve."
A resident saw Stephens at a McDonald's parking lot and called in the tip, the state police said.
Henry Sayers, the restaurant manager, told the New York Times a worker also recognized Stephens and restaurant staff tried to stall Stephens by holding on to his fries while calling police.
"But he just took his nuggets," Sayers said, "and said, 'I have to go,' and he drove off."
The state police troop headquarters are 2 miles from the restaurant.
"PSP troopers immediately began to canvas the area for Stephens and located him in his vehicle a short time later," state police said in a Facebook post. "Troopers in marked patrol units initiated a pursuit that lasted approximately 2 miles. The troopers attempted a [precision immobilization technique] maneuver to disable Stephens' vehicle, a white Ford Fusion. As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head."
A patrol trooper was unable to stop in time and ran into Stephens' vehicle. It caused minor damage but no injuries were reported.
Law enforcement members were searching for Stephens in Erie -- about 100 miles east of Cleveland -- because of a "pinged" cell tower before he shut off his phone. Also, Stephens' Facebook posts revealed he had gambling losses there.
"We were in the process today of going back to do a more thorough search when this transpired," Williams said at the news conference.
Stephens, 37, was wanted for the death of 74-year-old Robert Godwin, who was shot while walking home Sunday from an Easter meal in Cleveland. Video of the killing was posted afterward on Facebook.
"All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets," Brenda Haymon, Godwin's daughter, told CNN. "I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself."
Haymon learned of Stephens' death as she was planning funeral arrangements for her father.
Law enforcement, including the FBI and U.S. Marshals Service, conducted a nationwide hunt for Stephens.
More than 400 tips from as far away as Texas were reported, Williams said. Many sightings turned out to be false. A $50,000 award was offered.
The police chief said Stephens apparently chose Godwin at random; he shot the man in the head while standing on a sidewalk in the city's Glenville neighborhood. A short time later, according to investigators, Stephens posted a video recording of the homicide to his Facebook page.
In the video, he mentioned a recent romantic relationship with a woman. Stephens told his victim to say her name right before he was shot, police said.
"She's the reason why this is about to happen to you," the gunman said.
Before he approached Godwin, the shooter is heard on the video saying, "I'm about to kill this guy right here. He's an old dude."
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered his condolences later Tuesday.
"We have a lot of work [to do] and we will keep doing all we can to keep tragedies like this from happening," he said during his keynote speech at a conference in San Jose, Calif.
On Monday, Facebook said it will review it "reporting flaws" how viewers can flag video and other content that violates its standards. Also, Facebook said it is exploring artificial intelligence to prevent such videos from being shared.
Facebook, which said it has thousands of people reviewing several million videos every week, received its first report of Stephens confessing to the murder an hour and 45 minutes after it was posted on the Facebook Live. Facebook said it never received a report about the first video about his intent to commit murder and a second one of the shooting.