Cleveland police search for suspect who streamed killing on Facebook | News | DW | 17.04.2017
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Cleveland police search for suspect who streamed killing on Facebook

Authorities in Ohio have launched a manhunt for a suspect they say broadcast a video of himself shooting an elderly man. The suspect claimed to have killed others, but Cleveland police have not verified that information.

Law enforcement officers in the US state of Ohio are searching for a suspect who allegedly shot and killed another man while streaming it live on Facebook on Sunday.

Cleveland police said they were looking for Steve Stephens in connection with what appeared to be the random killing of 74-year-old Robert Goodwin. Authorities described Stephens as "armed and dangerous."

Police released a photo of the suspect on Twitter along with a picture of the white Ford Fusion that he may be driving.

In a separate video, Stephens also claimed to have killed more than a dozen other people. Police said they have not found evidence to support the claim.

"What happened today is senseless," Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said at a press conference.

"From what we can tell now, it's just a random person that he picked out," Williams said. "There was no need for this gentleman to lose his life."

Williams urged Stephens to turn himself in to authorities, saying: "We want this to end with as much peace as we can bring to this right now."

Facebook condemns killing

Authorities said that Stephens broadcast the video on Facebook Live around 2 p.m. Sunday (1800 GMT) and that the video was up for around three hours before being taken down. The suspect's Facebook page has also been removed.

The social media giant condemned the accused killer's action in a statement later on Sunday.

"This is a horrific crime and we do not allow this kind of content on Facebook," said a spokesperson for the company.

"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."

Sunday's shooting is not the first time Facebook Live has been used to broadcast death or violence on the social media network. In January, four people in Chicago were arrested after they allegedly beat and tortured a mentally disabled man live on the site.

In March, a Facebook Live video showed the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl by five or six men or boys in Chicago. None of the 40 people who watched the video live reported the assault to police, authorities said.

rs/kl  (AP, dpa, Reuters)

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