Sunday 22 October 2017

McDonald's staff delayed Facebook killer's fries and called police

Steve Stephens shot himself. PHoto: Getty Images
Steve Stephens shot himself. PHoto: Getty Images

Kim Ripoll Cleveland

Facebook Live killer Steve Stephens was undone on the third day of an intensive manhunt when suspicious McDonald's staff delayed giving him his order and telephoned police, it has emerged.

Stephens, who shot himself at the denouement of a police chase on Tuesday, is believed to have killed a complete stranger and posted footage of the murder on social media.

While ordering McNuggets and fries at a drive-thru McDonald's restaurant near Erie, Pennsylvania - more than 160km from the shooting in Cleveland, Ohio - Stephens was recognised by staff, who called police.

Restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr and a supervisor then tried stalling Stephens by telling him his fries were delayed.

Stephens refused to wait and drove out of the car park, nearly hitting Gail Wheeler (54), a local woman on her way home from the shops.

"Two seconds later, I hear these sirens, and they come whipping past me," she told the Associated Press.

Ms Wheeler followed behind for a few miles. She said the chase slowed suddenly from 80kmh to about 40kmh when the road narrowed from four lanes to two. One of the pursuing troopers picked his spot - in front of an abandoned school - and hit Stephens' bumper to get him to stop.

The Ford Fusion did a half-turn and came to rest at the curb. Ms Wheeler said police were starting to get out of their vehicles when: "I heard a shot. It was loud and distinctive."

"The next thing I know, they're approaching the car. The one officer just shook his head. They had their guns out but when he shook his head, they lowered their guns," she said.

State police Major William Teper Jr said one of his troopers "saw Stephens pull the gun out and shoot himself".

The McDonald's workers may now be in line for a $50,000 (€46,700) reward offered for help to catch Stephens.

Irish Independent

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