The man who broadcast a video of himself murdering an elderly man on Facebook killed himself after police caught up with him while he waited for a McDonald’s meal.
Steve Stephens, who went on the run after killing 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr, stopped off at a branch of the fast food giant near Erie, Pennsylvania, so he could pick up a chicken nuggets and fries dinner.
However, a worker recognised the killer while he waited in his white Ford Fusion and notified police that the murderer was there.
As Stephens, 37, approached the window to pick up his food, restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme and a supervisor tried stalling him by telling him his fries were delayed.
But rather than wait, Stephens is said to have shouted, “I can’t wait! I need my McNuggets!” before speeding off out of the car park, nearly hitting Gail Wheeler, 54, a retail operations manager from Erie who was on her way home from shopping.
She said: ”Two seconds later, I hear these sirens, and they come whipping past me.”
Ms Wheeler followed behind for a couple of miles and said the chase slowed suddenly from 50mph to about 20mph when the road narrowed from four lanes to two.
One of the pursuing troopers picked his spot – in front of an abandoned school – and rammed Stephens’ bumper to get him to stop.
The Ford Fusion did a half-turn and came to rest at the curb.
Police were starting to get out of their cruisers when Ms Wheeler said she heard a “loud and distinctive” shot.
She added: ”The next thing I know, they’re approaching the car. The one officer just shook his head. He was closest to the car.
“They had their guns out but when he shook his head, they lowered their guns.”
State police major William Teper said the trooper who rammed Stephens’ car “saw him pull the gun out and shoot himself”.
Cleveland Police Chief Calvin Williams said he wanted the search for Stephens to have ended differently.
He told a press conference: “This started with one tragedy and ended with another person ending their life…
“We would like to have brought Stephens in peacefully and talked to him about why this happened.”
The mother of two of Mr Godwin’s children added to MailOnline: “He escaped justice.
“My kids ain’t never gonna get closure. He should have given himself up to the police.”
Stephens blamed the breakdown of his relationship with girlfriend Joy Lane for his actions and claimed to have killed 14 other people.
However, police say there is currently no evidence of any other victims.
Facebook said it removed the video of the shooting 23 minutes after learning of it and the company has since announced it is launching a review for reporting harmful content.
Top pic: Facebook