ERIE, Penn. – Moments before shooting and killing himself during a police chase, accused “Facebook killer” Steve Stephens got hungry.
Stephens, 37, of Cleveland, Ohio, went through a McDonald’s drive-thru in Erie, Pennsylvania, where a 20-piece order of McNuggets and some fries proved to be his undoing, Cleveland 19 News reported.
Henry Sayers, a manager at the McDonald’s where Stephens ordered his last meal, told the news station that Stephens appeared to be just another customer — until an alert employee recognized him from TV news bulletins about the nationwide manhunt for the accused killer. Sayers said he and his employees were not 100 percent sure the man was Stephens, and that they knew the wanted man might be in the area because police had traced a “ping” from his cell phone to the Erie area.
Employees tried to stall Stephens, saying they were waiting on his fries to cook, while the drive-thru worker who recognized him called 911, Cleveland 19 News reported.
Stephens, who may have sensed that he had been recognized, told them he was in a hurry.
“I am pretty sure he figured out that we were on to him,” Thomas DuCharme Jr., owner of the McDonald’s, told GoErie.com. “He didn’t want to wait for his fries.”
Stephens didn’t actually pull over into a parking spot, but the fries gambit still slowed him up enough that the police were able to catch up with him.
Sayers told Cleveland 19 News that Stephens drove off without the fries, taking a right onto the street in front of the restaurant. State police troopers pulled in behind him, lights flashing, and the chase began.
It ended about two miles later, when troopers attempted a PIT maneuver to stop the Ford Focus that Stephens was driving, according to the Pennsylvania State Police.
“As the vehicle was spinning out of control from the PIT maneuver, Stephens pulled a pistol and shot himself in the head,” troopers said in a news release.
Stephens was pronounced dead at the scene. According to GoErie.com, the grounds of a nearby former elementary school were blocked off after the shooting and crash.
Officials were not immediately clear on what brought Stephens to Erie. I’m wondering if that McDonald’s employee will get that $50,000 reward???