The man who gunned down a retiree and posted video of the murder on Facebook committed suicide Tuesday during a police chase in Pennsylvania yesterday.
The police chase started when McDonald’s employees recognized 37-year-old Steve Stephens at a drive-thru and attempted to stall him while they called police.
Tom Ducharme Jr., who owns the McDonald's in Erie, Pennsylvania, told CBS affiliate WSEE that Stephens pulled up to the first drive-thru window and ordered a 6-piece Chicken McNuggets with fries. The employee at the window recognized him and noticed he was driving a Ford Fusion with Ohio tags. The employee took Stephens’ order and money, according to the report, then promptly called Pennsylvania State Police as Stephens pulled up to the second drive-thru window.
“We basically told him it would be a minute for his fries, which it wasn’t really, we were just trying to make sure she got in contact with state police,” Ducharme said in the report. “He didn’t want to wait for the fries, which was fine – he took his six-piece and didn’t want any money back and headed out on to Buffalo Road.”
According to CBS News, Pennsylvania State Police acted on the tip from McDonalds employee and spotted Stephens leaving the restaurant. They followed him.
“Thank God,” Major William Teper of the Pennsylvania State Police said. “Without the public, we would be nowhere. It’s so important to any investigation for the public to step in and help us.”
He praised the McDonalds tipster: “I thank them from the bottom of my heart. It’s nice when we’re all on the same team.”
Police pursued Stephens, and about two miles from the McDonalds, a trooper rammed his vehicle and caused it to spin out of control, according to CBS News. As his car came to a stop, Stephens took out a pistol and shot himself in the head.
The event marked a violent end to the nearly 48-hour multistate manhunt for Stephens, who used to work as a counselor for young people. He shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. to death on Easter Sunday as he walked on a street collecting cans. He posted the murder on Facebook.