ERIE, Penn. -- Two Pennsylvania State troopers were prepared for the worst when pursuing Steve Stephens, the Cleveland man accused of posting video of a murder to Facebook, on Tuesday just before he fatally shot himself.
Capt. Jim Basinger and Lt. Wayne Kline of the Pennsylvania State police told WCPO's sister station WEWS in Cleveland they were concerned the chase was heading into a highly populated area of Erie, Pennsylvania.
"If he would've started firing, our officers would've fired back," Basinger said. “Is this going to end in a gunfight? Because he alluded to that fact in his statements on Facebook that he wasn't going to give up ... and he was going to continue to kill people."
Kline said he was especially concerned about the public's safety because the pursuit began shortly after 11 a.m., prime time for workers on their lunch break.
"We're at lunchtime (and) we’re initiating a pursuit where there are a lot of restaurants,” Kline said. “A lot of people out on the sidewalk, so there was a lot of opportunity for a lot of bad things to occur."
A total of four state police cruisers were part of the two-mile-long chase. State police managed to bump the vehicle Stephens was driving, causing him to lose control and stop the car. Stephens then used a handgun to take his own life.
According to the manager of a McDonald's on Buffalo Road, an employee thought a man in the drive-thru might be Stephens, so they called Pennsylvania State Police. Stephens reportedly ordered a 20-piece chicken McNugget and a large fry. The manager said employees tried to stall Stephens by telling him the fries weren't ready, but he took the chicken and drove away.