Cleveland Experienced A Horrific Murder Broadcasted On Social Media

by Seth Millstein
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Cleveland Police are on the hunt for a man who, on Sunday, allegedly committed murder and broadcasted the killing on Facebook. The suspect in question has been identified but is still on the loose, and several law enforcement agencies are looking for him. But let's back up a bit. What happened in Cleveland on Sunday?

Facebook released a statement on the incident and clarified that the video was allegedly not broadcasted live, but was recorded previously to posting. "We do not allow this kind of content on Facebook," the spokesperson said. "We work hard to keep a safe environment on Facebook, and are in touch with law enforcement in emergencies when there are direct threats to physical safety."

The suspected shooter posted a video to Facebook that showed him sitting in his car, police say, while parked by 600 block of East 93rd Street. After announcing that he intended to kill a random person, he exited his car and approached 74-year-old Robert Godwin, who was walking down the sidewalk at the time. The alleged gunman told Godwin to say the name of a woman; that woman was later identified as the suspected shooter's girlfriend. He then appears to shoot Godwin in the head, killing him.

"That motherf*cker dead because of you," he said into the camera after the murder before addressing his girlfriend by name. later confirmed that his girlfriend is in protective custody and has been "fully cooperative" with police.

The man recorded a second video after Godwin's killing, in which he claimed to have "just snapped" and said that he'd killed 15 additional people. However, police have not linked any other murders to him. The Facebook videos themselves were online for three hours before being taken down, and the alleged shooter's Facebook page has been deactivated.

Cleveland Police have identified the suspected shooter's car: A white Ford Fusion with the temporary Ohio tag of E363630. They say that he's armed and dangerous and shouldn't be approached if spotted.

The alleged shooter said that he worked at Beech Brook, a children's mental health facility, and Beech Brook spokesperson Nancy Kortemeyer subsequently confirmed that this was the case.

“We were shocked and horrified to learn of this news today," Kortemeyer said in a statement to FOX 8. "We were notified that it was on Facebook, and we are waiting along with everyone else to hear if he has been abducted. Our hearts go out to the family of Mr. Godwin, and we are hoping that the Cleveland Police will be able to apprehend [the suspect] as soon as possible and before anyone else is injured.”

In a press conference, Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said that local law enforcement is working with state and federal authorities, including the FBI, to locate the shooter. He noted that the suspected shooter has "relationships with the clergy," and urged him to turn in himself.