Facebook killer found dead

Eagle-eyed McDonald's employees have told of how they used stalling tactics to help catch the 'Facebook killer' as he waited for his chicken nuggets and fries.

Steve Stephens killed himself in Erie, Pennsylvania as police closed in on him in their nationwide manhunt on Wednesday (local time).

US police say while they're relieved and grateful the manhunt is over, it has left many questions unanswered.

Stephens, who posted a video of himself on Facebook killing an elderly man shot and killed himself after a "brief pursuit" by Pennsylvania State Police officers on Wednesday (local time).

He was accused of shooting Robert Godwin Sr, 74, on a Cleveland footpath on Sunday before fleeing in a car and uploading a video of the murder to Facebook, becoming the subject of a nationwide manhunt.

Police had offered a US$50,000 for any information leading to his capture.

Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams says Pennsylvania State Police received a tip-off Stephens was parked up in his Ford Fusion in a McDonald's car park in Erie County - around 160km northeast of Cleveland - on Tuesday morning.

He'd been recognised by a drive-thru worker who called police after suspecting the customer was Stephens from the extensive media coverage, TV news station Cleveland 19 reports.

The store's manager, Henry Sayers, says they attempted to use a stalling tactic telling Stephens there would be a wait on his fries, GoErie.com reports.

The franchise's owner/operator Thomas DuCharme Jr said he suspected Stephens "figured out we were onto him".

"He didn't want to wait for his fries."

As officers closed in on the car, Stephens sped away.

"There was a short pursuit in which the vehicle was stopped, as the officers approached that vehicle, Steve Stephens took his own life," Mr Williams said in a news conference.

"We are grateful to the people that gave this tip to the Pennsylvania Police, we are grateful this has ended.

"We would prefer it had not ended this way because there are a lot of questions not only the family, but the city had for Steve as to why this transpired."

The reason why Stephens was in Erie is unclear, but police say he had been a regular at the local casino.

A cellphone tower detected Stephens' phone in the area on Sunday, but authorities didn't know exactly where he was.

They're now looking into whether anyone in Erie was helping Stephens while he was on the run, CNN reports.

Stephens, who had no prior criminal record, was not suspected in any other killings, Cleveland officials had said.

Before the killing, Stephens had stopped by his mother's house where he told her it would be the last time she was going to see him.

The next day, they spoke by phone before his mother's phone died. Stephens reportedly claimed he was "shooting people" because he was "mad with his girlfriend" of around three years.

He claimed on Facebook he'd killed more people, but police haven't identified any other victims.

In interviews before Stephens' death, Mr Godwin's relatives said they forgave his killer.

"I forgive him because we are all sinners," Robby Miller, Mr Godwin's son, said in an interview with CNN.

But it seems at least one family member hadn't quite forgiven.

On the announcement of his death, Mr Godwin's daughter Brenda Haymon had been making funeral arrangements.

"All I can say is that I wish he had gone down in a hail of 100 bullets. I wish it had gone down like that instead of him shooting himself."

The shooting marked the latest video clip of a violent crime to turn up on Facebook, raising questions about how the world's biggest social media network moderates content.

The company on Monday said it would review how it monitors violent footage and other objectionable material in response to the killing.

The shooting video was visible on Facebook for nearly two hours before it was reported, the company said.

Facebook to review violent videos after man's murder

Stephens is not believed to have known Mr Godwin, a retired foundry worker who media reports said spent Easter Sunday morning with his son and daughter-in-law before he was killed.

Reuters / Newshub.