Review Category : National News

Manhunt for Cleveland Facebook murder suspect expands to national search

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) — Authorities are asking for the public’s help in a national search for an armed and dangerous killer who allegedly gunned down an elderly man in Cleveland, Ohio, and uploaded the video to Facebook.

The suspect, Steve Stephens, hasn’t been seen since the Sunday afternoon shooting in Cleveland.

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, Robert Godwin Sr., 74, can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head.

Stephens claims to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. No additional victims have been found, police said.

“This is what we would consider a national search for Steve,” Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference this afternoon. “So we are not going to leave any stone upturned.”

“We have located a lot of people that he’s been talking to,” Williams said, adding that “they have been cooperative in the investigation so far.”

Williams said authorities have yet to determine a motive for the shooting. “We’ve interviewed several people involved, and I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason for this happening,” he said.

A reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to his arrest.

“We don’t know where he’s at,” Wiliams said at a news conference this morning.

“At this point, he could be a lot of places,” Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland division, said this morning. He could be nearby, far away or anywhere in between, Anthony said.

Authorities said detectives did initially make contact with Stephens via cellphone after the incident was posted on Facebook, but they were not able to track him or convince him to turn himself in.

On Sunday night officers searched dozens of locations based on leads “to no avail,” police said.

Police said there is no evidence that Stephens is outside Ohio.

Williams said this afternoon that authorities don’t have any reason to believe Stephens is not still driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary tag E363630.

Stephens is a member of the assertive community treatment team at Beech Brook, a mental health organization in northeast Ohio, a spokesperson for his employer said.

Nancy Kortemeyer, vice president of marketing and PR at Beech Brook, “We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him. … We are shocked and horrified.”

Beech Brook said its offices will be closed Monday out of concern for the safety of its employees, clients and visitors.

Joy Lane, who dated Stephens for several years, said in a statement that Stephens is “a nice guy … he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family.”

In the video he uploaded to Facebook, Stephens mentions Lane in the moments before the shooting, saying to the victim, “She’s the reason why all this about to happen to you.”

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson called the incident a “horrific crime” and said that the company does “not allow this kind of content on Facebook.”

The spokesperson added that the shooting itself was not broadcast on Facebook Live but was uploaded after the incident took place. The suspect did broadcast another video on Facebook Live at one point, the spokesperson said.

Cleveland police have issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder.

Stephens doesn’t have a criminal record, police said.

Williams said anyone helping hide Stephens will also face charges. Williams said the only way to help Stephens is to give police the information to bring him in peacefully.

“We’re not gonna stop until he’s in custody,” Williams said.

Local, state and federal law enforcement are involved in the search, said Anthony.

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Daughter of man gunned down in Facebook video: ‘I saw the fear in my father’s eyes’

ABC News(CLEVELAND) — A daughter of the man whose killing was recorded and posted on Facebook Sunday told ABC News in an emotional interview that the video “forever will be in my mind because I saw the fear in my father’s eyes.”

In the video of the Cleveland, Ohio, shooting, which has since been removed from Facebook, Robert Godwin Sr., 74, can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot in the head.

The suspected gunman, Steve Stephens, has been on the run ever since and there have been no credible sightings of him.

Godwin’s daughter, Tonya Godwin Baines, told ABC News Monday that it “feels like our heart is just ripped out of our chest. For somebody to brutally murder my father like that is unbelievable.”

Baines said her father was the epitome of a family man who “would give you the shirt off his back.”

“He taught us about God, he taught us love, forgiveness. Just to know that I will never ever hear my father’s voice again is devastating,” Baines said. “My father was such an honest man that didn’t drink, didn’t smoke, no crime; he was just picking up cans [when he was shot].”

“We can never replace him,” she added, crying. “A part of us died with him.”

Baines’ sister, Debbie Godwin, told ABC News she didn’t watch the video “because I didn’t want that to be the last remembrance of my father.”

“He didn’t deserve to just be picked out randomly,” Debbie Godwin said. “And then to add insult to injury you tape it while my father is begging for his life.”

But the sisters said they have already forgiven the man accused of killing their father.

“I truly can say I don’t even feel any animosity against the guy that killed my father,” Debbie Godwin said. “I’m glad that my parents taught us to love people and to forgive even when they do us wrong. … My dad would be the kind of person that would say, ‘You gotta forgive.'”

“I want him to get help,” Debbie Godwin said of the suspected gunman. “He needed that before this happened and I pray for his mother. I want to be able to meet her and hug her.”

Baines said she hopes Stephens surrenders.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said of the suspect this morning, “We don’t know where he’s at,” and asked for the public’s help in tracking Stephens down.

Williams said this afternoon that the manhunt has expanded to a national search.

A reward of up to $50,000 is being offered for information leading to Stephens’ arrest. Cleveland police have issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder.

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Military helicopter crashes in southern Maryland

File Photo iStock/Thinkstock(LEONARDTOWN, Md.) — A military helicopter crashed at a golf course in Leondardtown, Maryland, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Police told ABC News.

The police are currently assisting with a medical evacuation following the incident.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.

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How state trooper, DNA helped catch Mass. jogger’s alleged killer 8 months later

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — An eagle-eyed Massachusetts state trooper and a DNA match on the victim’s hands led police to arrest the man suspected of killing Vanessa Marcotte eight months after she disappeared while jogging near her mother’s Princeton, Massachusetts, home, officials said.

On Aug. 7, 2016, 27-year-old Marcotte, an account manager at Google in New York, went for a jog in Princeton, a town about 60 miles west of Boston, and never returned. Her body was found that night in a wooded area about half a mile from her mother’s home. Marcotte had planned to return home to New York that night, officials said.

On Friday, Angelo Colon-Ortiz, 31, of Worcester, was arrested in connection with the killing after his DNA matched samples from Marcotte’s hands, said Worcester County District Attorney Joseph Early Jr.

Police found Colon-Ortiz after a Massachusetts state trooper spotted a man matching the suspect’s description driving a dark SUV in Worcester, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office said.

The trooper didn’t have paper, so he “wrote the license plate number down on his hand and followed up,” the district attorney’s office said. “He later went to the suspect’s home … where suspect provided the DNA that led to the match.”

Marcotte’s cousins, Caroline Tocci and Steve Vittorioso, told ABC News they weren’t surprised that the 27-year-old helped catch her own alleged killer by getting his DNA.

“Vanessa is a fighter,” Vittorioso said. “I know that she was doing everything she can. She really tried to persevere. … She is our role model.”

“Vanessa was my cousin, but she was my sister,” Tocci explained. “She was an only child so she grew up with me and my sisters, as well as Steve, and we were all very close. She was my other half.”

“We’re very proud of her strength and what she did,” Tocci said. “We know how strong of a person she is and every day we strive to be more like her.”

Early said the arrest “was the result of hard work by police who tirelessly investigated this case from the day of Ms. Marcotte’s death.”

Investigators had received more than 1,300 tips in the case, the district attorney’s office said.

A suspect now in custody has brought the family some peace, Tocci said, but she added, “Our goal now is just helping other women who are in these situations.”

The family has established the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation, which Tocci said promotes female safety awareness and aims to tackle the “societal issue … of the objectification of women” and reduce violence by promoting gender equality.

“Vanessa did nothing wrong. She was running during daylight on a road that she’s run on thousands of times,” Tocci said. “It’s just being aware of your surroundings and being cognizant that this could happen anywhere. It doesn’t matter your class, it doesn’t matter your race, it could happen to anyone. You have to live fearlessly, but you have to just be safe, as well.”

Vittorioso added, “We want women just to continue on with their lives and keep doing what they’re doing on a daily basis and not be scared to go for a run at 5 o’clock in the morning … and just to continue on what they love doing.”

“We’re going to take this energy and really channel it into the Vanessa T. Marcotte Foundation,” Vittorioso said, “and use that as a great way just to keep her spirit alive, just because Vanessa means the world to us.”

Colon-Ortiz, who was not resistant when he was arrested, the district attorney’s office said, has been charged with aggravated assault and battery and assault with attempt to rape. Early said additional charges are expected. He is being held on $10 million bail and is expected to be arraigned Tuesday.

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Animal Adventure Park launches campaign to name April the giraffe’s calf

File Photo iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — April the giraffe finally gave birth to a healthy male calf this Saturday in Harpursville, New York, as over 1 million people watched in real time from around the world on the Animal Adventure Park’s livestream.

The internet-famous baby giraffe, however, still does not have a name, according to Jordan Patch, the owner of Animal Adventure Park, who appeared live on “Good Morning America” today to ask for the public’s help in naming the calf.

“We’re actually going to have the world help us vote on that name,” Patch said on “GMA.” “Our naming contest is up now at nameaprilscalf.com where you can go in and make a monetary donation for the name of choice.”

Patch announced a 10-day campaign in which fans can vote on a name for April’s calf for a fee of $1 per vote with a minimum purchase of five votes. The money raised will be used for giraffe conservation efforts, the charity Ava’s Little Heroes and also go toward supporting the Animal Adventure Park where April the giraffe and her calf reside.

“Now the neat thing about these funds that we’re raising, they’re going to be spread out for some great causes,” he explained. “Number one is we’re using a portion of them for giraffe conservation in the wild. This partnership along with our partnership with Toys ‘R’ Us is making some tangible results for that, and then also we’re contributing to a foundation we started here in town to help sick children, called Ava’s Little Heroes.”

The Animal Adventure Park’s giraffe-cam has captivated nearly 300 million viewers since it launched in February, according to the park. April’s nearly 16-month pregnancy culminated this Saturday, when she gave birth to her calf after being in labor for two hours. Her male calf weighs 129 pounds and stands at 5 feet, 9 inches tall.

Both mom and baby are doing “absolutely great,” said Patch.

“Mom had a perfect delivery, perfect birthing,” he added. “She’s been a phenomenal mother thus far. Very protective and very encouraging of her calf. He’s very outgoing. And Oliver [the dad], usually males have no part in the raising of the young, [but] he’s actually been quite inquisitive and getting nose to nose with baby. It’s creating some very cute moments.”

Patch said the birth of the new calf is a “huge accomplishment” for Animal Adventure Park.

“We’re a relatively young facility. So to have a giraffe calf in our fifth year of being open, that’s a big accomplishment for us,” he said. “But on a grander scale is that we’ve taken the conversation of the silent extinction of giraffes from a very small conversation to a worldwide conversation at dinner tables, coffee shops and classrooms.”

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Toxic chemical spill closes Atlanta freeway

iStock/Thinkstock(ATLANTA) — A toxic chemical spill caused by an overturned tractor-trailer partially shut down a major highway in Atlanta early Monday.

The accident took place at around 3:34 a.m. near 10th Street on Atlanta’s Downtown Connector, a stretch of road where two interstate highways, I-75 and I-85, run side-by-side for several miles.

After initially halting traffic in both directions, officials in Atlanta reopened the southbound lanes at around 6:30 a.m. this morning and expect to have the remaining lanes free by 10 a.m.

Police did not disclose the chemical that was released from the overturned vehicle.

Hazmat crews were at the scene in the predawn hours and police said that no one was allowed to come within 150 yards of the site of the spill.

@ATLFireRescue on scene of overturned tractor trailer due to accident. 75/85 NB & SB shutdown @ 10th Street. Possible HazMat situation.

— Atlanta Fire Rescue (@ATLFireRescue) April 17, 2017

A spokesman for the Atlanta Police Department told ABC News that officials expect traffic to be significantly impacted, with commuters facing 1-2 hour delays.

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Manhunt intensifies for Cleveland murder suspect: ‘We’re not gonna stop until he’s in custody’

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) — Authorities are asking for the public’s help to find an armed and dangerous killer as the manhunt expands for a man who allegedly gunned down an elderly man in Cleveland, Ohio, and uploaded the video to Facebook.

The suspect, Steve Stephens, hasn’t been seen since the Sunday afternoon shooting in Cleveland.

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, Robert Godwin Sr., 74, can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head.

Stephens claims to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. No additional victims have been found, police said.

“We don’t know where he’s at,” Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a news conference this morning, adding that police are asking for the public’s help in finding him.

“At this point, he could be a lot of places,” said Stephen Anthony, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Cleveland division. He could be nearby, far away or anywhere in between, Anthony said.

Authorities said detectives did initially make contact with Stephens via cellphone after the incident was posted on Facebook, but they were not able to track him or convince him to turn himself in.

On Sunday night officers searched dozens of locations based on leads “to no avail,” police said.

Williams said the search has expanded from Cleveland to the Midwest. He asked the public to go about their days but to also remain vigilant.

The police said earlier that Stephens may already have left Ohio and asked residents of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on alert. Police in Erie, Pennsylvania, said they had been notified of a ping detected from Stephens’ cellphone on the east side of Erie County.

UPDATE Homicide suspect Steve Stephens’ actual vehicle has Ohio Temp tag E363630 pic.twitter.com/tE3r5u4BNN

— Cleveland Police (@CLEpolice) April 17, 2017

Stephens is a member of the assertive community treatment team at Beech Brook, a mental health organization in northeast Ohio, a spokesperson for his employer said.

Nancy Kortemeyer, vice president of marketing and PR at Beech Brook, “We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him. … We are shocked and horrified.”

Beech Brook said its offices will be closed today out of concern for the safety of its employees, clients and visitors.

Joy Lane, who dated Stephens for several years, said in a statement that Stephens is “a nice guy … he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family.”

In the video he uploaded to Facebook, Stephens mentions Lane in the moments before the shooting, saying to the victim, “She’s the reason why all this about to happen to you.”

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson called the incident a “horrific crime” and said that the company does “not allow this kind of content on Facebook.”

The spokesperson added that the shooting itself was not broadcast on Facebook Live but was uploaded after the incident took place. The suspect did broadcast another video on Facebook Live at one point, the spokesperson said.

Cleveland police have issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder.

Stephens doesn’t have a criminal record, police said.

Williams said anyone helping hide Stephens will also face charges. Williams said the only way to help Stephens is to give police the information to bring him in peacefully.

“We’re not gonna stop until he’s in custody,” Williams said.

Local, state and federal law enforcement are involved in the search, said Anthony.

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Wild goose chase for one unsuspecting cop in Indiana

iStock/Thinkstock(Clarksville, Ind.)– A wild goose chase in Indiana involving law enforcement involved an actual goose.

Video released by the police department in Clarksville, Indiana, shows a detective strolling back to his office on Thursday when his feathers were ruffled by a Canada Goose.

The vigilant goose can be seen flapping its wings while in flight, directing its aim at the head of the detective.

Speaking to ABC affiliate WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky, lead birdkeeper at the Louisville Zoo, Craik Mikel, said the large waterfowl was protecting its nest when the detective made his approach.

Mikel described the technique captured on video as “wing slapping.”

WILD GOOSE CHASE: A Clarksville, Indiana police officer is seen on video fending off a goose! pic.twitter.com/ADmrqz73VI

— ABC World News Now (@abcWNN) April 17, 2017

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First women to finish Boston Marathon will run the race again 50 years later

Allen Kee/ESPN Images(BOSTON) — The 121st Boston Marathon got underway Monday morning as racers and observers remember the bombing attack, which took place four years ago on April 15, 2013. The race also marked the return of a marathon legend.

Kathrine Switzer, who in 1967 became the first woman to ever complete the Boston Marathon, will be running in the race again this year.

In 1967, Switzer was a 20-year-old Syracuse University student, and one iconic photo captured her running while Jock Semple, then the co-director of the race according to The Washington Post, tried to rip off her race number. She will be wearing that same number, 261, in this year’s race.

Now 70-years-old, Switzer has run 39 marathons in her life, the last coming in 2011. She also won the New York City Marathon in 1974. She last ran in the Boston Marathon in 1976.

An advocate for equal rights in sports, Switzer successfully campaigned for the Olympics to adopt the women’s marathon as a sport in 1984. She started the nonprofit 261 Fearless in 2015, which uses running to empower women around the world.

In 1967, Kathrine Switzer was the first woman to run #BostonMarathon as a registered entrant. Today, she’s all smiles before her last 26.2 pic.twitter.com/cqFiWfNEu8

— Chris Chavez (@ChrisChavez) April 17, 2017

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Manhunt underway for Cleveland murder suspect who posted video of killing on Facebook

Cleveland Police(CLEVELAND) — Cleveland, Ohio, police are searching for a suspect who they say killed an elderly man and uploaded the video to Facebook.

The incident happened at about 2 p.m., police said. The suspect, identified by police as Steve Stephens, is described as 6-foot-1, 244 pounds and bald with a full beard. He is wearing a dark blue and gray- or black-striped polo shirt and believed to be driving a white Ford Fusion, according to police.

Cleveland police issued a warrant for Stephens on a charge of aggravated murder.

The police said Stephens may already have left Ohio and asked residents of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan to be on alert. Police in the city of Erie in Pennsylvania confirmed to ABC news early Monday that they had been notified of a ping detected from Stephens’ cell phone on the east side of Erie County.

In the video, which has since been removed from Facebook, the elderly victim, later identified by police as Robert Godwin Sr., 74, can be seen raising his hands in an apparent attempt to ward off his attacker before he is shot once in the head. Police initially said the victim’s last name was spelled Goodwin.

Stephens claims to have committed multiple homicides, according to police. No additional victims have been found, though officers are searching multiple locations, police said.

In a press conference this evening, police urged Stephens to turn himself in.

“Everybody is looking for Steve,” said Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams, adding that there have been no confirmed sightings of the suspect since the Facebook Live event occurred.

Williams added that the killing is believed to be random.

Stephens is a member of the assertive community treatment team at Beech Brook, a mental health organization in northeast Ohio, a spokesperson for his employer confirmed.

“We learned about [the shooting] this afternoon when someone saw it on FB and notified us,” said Nancy Kortemeyer, vice president of marketing and PR at Beech Brook. “We are doing everything we can to help and help locate him.”

She added: “We are shocked and horrified.”

Joy Lane, who dated Stephens for several years, released a statement offering her condolences to the victim’s family.

“My heart and prayers goes out to the family members of the victim(s). Steve really is a nice guy … he is generous with everyone he knows. He was kind and loving to me and my children. This is a very difficult time for me and my family.”

In the video he uploaded to Facebook, Stephens mentions Lane in the moments before the shooting, saying to the victim, “she’s the reason why all this about to happen to you.”

Stephens is considered armed and dangerous, according to police.

In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson called the incident a “horrific crime” and said that the company does “not allow this kind of content on Facebook.”

The spokesperson added that the shooting itself was not broadcast on Facebook Live but was uploaded after the incident took place. The suspect did broadcast another video on Facebook Live at one point, 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 Facebook spokesperson added.

The FBI is assisting Cleveland police in the investigation.

This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.


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