Cleveland Facebook Shooting Victim's Pastor Daughter Says Father Was 'Sweet, Great Man'

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The pastor daughter of a Cleveland man whose fatal shooting was uploaded to Facebook by his killer has revealed her father was a "a sweet, great man" who was a "provider" for his nine children and fourteen grandchildren.
Debbie Godwin, pastor of Repairer Of The Breach Ministries Of Hope International, pictured with her father, 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. Twitter

The pastor daughter of a Cleveland man whose fatal shooting was uploaded to Facebook by his killer has revealed her father was a "a sweet, great man" who was a "provider" for his nine children and fourteen grandchildren.

Debbie Godwin, pastor of Repairer Of The Breach Ministries Of Hope International, told reporters that throughout his life, 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. was a model of patience and humility.

"He would go and buy our private things with pride. He had five daughters. He had no shame in his game," she said.

Robert Godwin Sr. was gunned down in a random killing Sunday afternoon by Steve Stephens, who later posted a video of the murder on Facebook. In the video, which has been widely shared online, Stephens, 37, reportedly said a woman's name and asked Godwin to repeat it. "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you," he said as the older man tried to shield himself with a shopping bag.

The gun is fired, and Godwin recoils and falls to the ground.

Stephens remained at large as of Monday morning amid a multi-state manhunt. On Facebook, he posted claims that he killed up to 15 people, though Cleveland police have said they found no evidence of any other victims.

Stephens' mother said her son was randomly shooting people because he was angry at a girlfriend, and police have said he had no connection to Godwin. 

Debbie Godwin said her father frequently fished in Lake Erie and collected aluminum cans to turn in for money - a hobby he was enjoying when he was gunned down. She said he had a good retirement plan from his years as a foundry worker but that "it was just something to do."

She added that growing up, her father frequently took her shopping. He was "a great man, a sweet man," she said. "All my life, all I've ever known for my dad to be a provider." On Facebook, Debbie shared a photo of herself with Godwin, which she said was from Father's Day 2015. 

Godwin's son, Robert Godwin Jr. told reporters his father had just finished an Easter meal when he encountered Stephens.

"He hugged my wife and me and said 'I'll see you guys next time,'" Godwin Jr. recounted. "I said 'OK, enjoy your Easter.'"

"It's not real. (My father) was a good guy. He would give you the shirt off his back," Robert Godwin Jr. told WOIO. "Feels like my heart is gonna stop."

Police said late Sunday an aggravated murder warrant has been issued for Stephens, and he is believed to have fled out of state.

"Residents of states of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana and Michigan asked to be on alert," the police press release said. He is possibly heading to New York to see family, police said.

Police Chief Calvin Williams said Stephens committed a "heinous crime in our city" and needs to be taken off the street. He also warned that anyone who helps Stephens escape could face charges and should turn him in.

"We're still asking Steve to turn himself in, but if he doesn't, we'll find him," the chief said. "We're not going to stop until we find him."

"He is considered armed and dangerous, so we want people to be careful out there," he added.

Tags : Cleveland, Facebook shooting, Facebook murder, Facebook Cleveland shooting, Steve Stephsn, Steven Stephens, Robert Godwin Sr., Cleveland shooting