Distraught relatives have paid tribute to the 74-year-old man whose senseless death was broadcast on Facebook on Sunday afternoon, as the manhunt for his suspected killer continues.
Robert Godwin was randomly shot and killed in a video posted to Facebook by Steve Stephens, who is still on the run.
A man who identified himself as his son, Robert Godwin Jr, cried as he remembered his father just hours after the fatal attack.
‘He was a good guy, he’d give you the shirt off his back. I’m not just saying that for the cameras, I’m telling the truth,’ Godwin Jr told WOIO-TV in Cleveland.
‘This man right here was a good man. I just hate that he’s gone. I don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s not real,’ he added, with his arm around a woman’s shoulders.
The woman, who identified herself as Godwin’s daughter, then added: ‘I feel like my heart is going to stop.’
She then sobbed into Godwin Jr’s chest and the two walked away from the camera.
Godwin died after he was confronted by Stephens along E 93rd St in northeast Cleveland, just blocks from Lake Erie.
His son, Godwin Jr, told Cleveland.com that his father was a retired foundry worker and left behind nine children, 14 grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.
Godwin Jr explained that he last saw his father on Sunday morning when he stopped by to pick up a piece of basketball equipment for another relative.
He said that one of his father’s favorite hobbies was fishing, and it was something he indulged in during his retirement. Godwin Jr also said that his father collected aluminum cans, and frequently walked around with a shopping bag to pick up any that he saw on the ground.
It was during a walk early Sunday afternoon that the deadly altercation took place. Godwin Jr said that his father was looking for cans with a Sav-A-lot bag in his hands when Stephens approached.
The shocking interaction was uploaded to Facebook, and Stephens egged Godwin into saying the name of his ex-fiance ‘Joy Lane’ seconds before opening fire.
Godwin attempted to block the gun shots with the plastic bag when he realized what was about to happen.
‘Oh man. I don’t know nobody,’ he can be heard saying in the video before he was killed.
The video was on Facebook for nearly three hours before it was taken down and Stephens’ account was deactivated.
Godwin was a father and grandfather, and his family members have posted photos and messages on social media.
His son said that his family is still processing what happened and waiting for police to arrest Stephens.
A few of his relatives uploaded a family photo, with Godwin in the bottom right with a quote from Ephesians 5:20.
There has been an outpouring of support from people all over the country.
There have also been a number of posts warning people in the city of Cleveland to stay safe while Stephens is still on the run.
Cleveland police chief Calvin Williams said in a press conference that Stephens chose his victim at random in the senseless murder.
‘There was no need for this gentleman to lose his life,’ Williams said.
‘If [Stephens] needs some help, which obviously he does, he needs to call someone, he needs to turn himself in so he can get the help he needs.
‘He can’t keep victimizing this community based on his issues,’ he added.
In a Facebook video Stephens claimed that he killed 14 others as well, and that those bodies are hidden in a warehouse somewhere. However, only Godwin’s death has been confirmed.