Skip to Main

Traverse City Social Media Experts, Police React to Cleveland Facebook Shooting, Manhunt

A nationwide manhunt is underway for Steve Stephens, including right here in Michigan.

He is claiming to have killed 13 people.

Cleveland police are warning people in Michigan and four other states to be on the lookout for Stephens.

They believe Stephens shot and killed Robert Godwin Senior Sunday.

The Facebook video shows the two talking before police say Stephens killed him.

Stephens has since gone on Facebook to say he is going to keep on killing until police catch him.

Investigators do not know where he is, but believe he left Ohio.

The chilling video of Robert Godwin Senior’s murder was watched by thousands before Facebook took it down.

But you don’t have to see the video for it to change your perspective on social media.               

9&10’s Megan Woods spoke with social media experts and law enforcement in Traverse City about the impact.

“There’s always going to be somebody out there that’s going to take something that people are using in a great way and use it in a real horrible way.”   

Expansion in the internet’s capabilities, with social media along for the ride are what drive LeadPlan Marketing.

Co-founder John Smiddy says, “It’s a great branding tool for our clients and companies that we work with and even more so it’s a great driver to the website.”

Social media can even work wonders for law enforcement, the reason the Michigan State Police Computer Crimes Unit continues to surf the web.

Detective and Sergeant Wesley Smith with the Computer Crimes Unit and Internet Crimes against Children Task Force says, "A picture is worth a thousand words how many pictures are in a three minute video of a murder or a robbery or assault lots of clues could be gained from that.”

With a tap of a finger Steve Stephens in Cleveland has left many with a traumatizing reminder of how social media like Facebook can be used for the worst.

D./Sgt. Smith says, “It makes them almost victims as well because it’s vicarious trauma, they can’t unsee those images they can’t unhear those sounds that’s going to be with them for the rest of their lives and could easily have an impact.”

And while the dark moments on the internet can be hard to put out of your mind police say, it is not a reason to log off.

D./Sgt. Smith says “Any type of those crimes, if they’re posted on Facebook or if you look at and go boy you know that doesn’t seem quite right take note of it, a date and a time contact local law enforcement.”

LeadPlan Marketing says, “It’s horrible that something like this would happen but there’s so many great things about social media.”

Steve Stephens could be headed to or in Michigan right now. If you have any information call police.