Erie State Police say around 11:10 a.m., a concerned citizen contacted PSP Erie and indicated Steven Stephens was sighted at the McDonald’s Restaurant on Buffalo Road in Harborcreek Township. Stephens was wanted for the brutal homicide of 74-year-old Robert Godwin, of Cleveland, Ohio.
According to a published article on nbc.com, a drive-thru attendant at the Buffalo Road McDonald’s recognized Stephens when he ordered McNuggets and French fries. Although the employees tried to stall Stephens by delaying giving him his fries, he sped off with his McNuggets after realizing he had been identified.
Police say that troopers responded to the location, located the vehicle, and initiated a pursuit which traveled west on Buffalo Road through Wesleyville Borough toward the City of Erie. Wesleyville Police joined the pursuit.
Stephens stopped his white Ford approximately one mile from the initial pursuit area. As the troopers exited their patrol vehicle, Stephens again fled west on Buffalo Road. The pursuit continued for approximately one mile where troopers executed a precision immobilization technique (PIT) in Erie City near Downing Avenue. This resulted in the Ford Fusion coming to a stop. At that time, Stephens used a handgun to take his own life, according to police.
Currently, search warrants are being executed on the Ford Fusion and its contents, police say.
At this point, state police cannot determine if Stephens had been in the Erie area, but they will continue to investigate and assist the Cleveland Police Department with this investigation.
Erie State Police stated, “Although this was not the ideal outcome, we are pleased that no one from the community was harmed, including members of law enforcement.”
PSP extended their condolences to the Godwin family in Cleveland, Ohio.
Pennsylvania State Police were assisted by Wesleyville Police Department, Erie City Bureau of Police, the Erie County Coroner Lyell Cook, and the Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri.
PSP would like to thank the public for their diligence and for the numerous tips received over the last few days. The public was instrumental in bringing this investigation to a successful conclusion.
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