Erie, Pennsylvania (CNN)Steve Stephens, the Cleveland killer who posted video of the slaying on Facebook, killed himself in Pennsylvania after a police chase, officers said Tuesday.
An employee spotted Stephens’ white Ford Fusion in the drive-thru of a McDonald’s near Erie and called authorities.
Stephens fled and Pennsylvania State Police troopers gave chase. One officer performed a “PIT” maneuver, a strategic way of ramming a car to disable it.
“As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head,” police said.
For two days, authorities across the country scrambled to find Stephens, the man wanted for the death of Robert Godwin, a self-taught mechanic and grandfather of 14.
“We’re grateful that this has ended,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said. “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.”
Godwin’s daughter, Brenda Haymon, learned of Stephens’ death as she was planning funeral arrangements for her father.
“All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets,” Haymon said. “I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself.”
Godwin, 74, was shot Sunday while walking home from an Easter meal with his children in Cleveland. Stephens later posted video of the elderly man’s death on Facebook. A funeral is scheduled for Saturday, Haymon told CNN.
The McDonald’s where Stephens was first spotted is about 5 miles from where he took his life.
Thomas DuCharme Jr., the franchise owner, said Stephens ordered chicken nuggets and fries at the McDonald’s drive-thru window in Harborcreek Township, and employees recognized him and called the police.
The employee said ” ‘I think that’s the guy. Can you double check I’m right?’ ” DuCharme said. “When I saw him, I knew it was him. It fits the profile. He didn’t look that different than the picture but his beard was trimmed down.”
Stephens was two cars behind in the drive-thru lane to pick up food, and by this time, the police were on their way, DuCharme said.
Stephens took his nuggets, but employees told him he had to wait for the fries. They were trying to give police time to arrive, DuCharme said. But Stephens didn’t wait and he drove away, the owner said.
DuCharme said Stephens looked suspicious.
“I’ve been doing this for 34 years. [Stephens] didn’t want his money, he wanted the nuggets and to leave,” he said.