McDonald’s order trips up Facebook slaying suspect

McDonald's order trips up Facebook slaying suspect

Facebook slaying suspect Steve Stephens was undone by a 20-piece Chicken McNuggets and an order of fries.

The man who police say shot a Cleveland retiree at random and posted video of the killing on Facebook pulled up to the drive-thru window of a McDonald’s restaurant outside Erie, Pennsylvania, and waited for his order.

It was late Tuesday morning, almost lunchtime, and authorities were in the third day of an intensive manhunt for Stephens.

Now, more than 100 miles from the shooting, his time on the run was nearly up.

The attendant who took his money recognized the suspect and dialed 911. Stephens pulled up to the next window, where restaurant owner Thomas DuCharme Jr. and a supervisor tried stalling him by telling him his fries were delayed.

Stephens didn’t want to wait. He took his McNuggets and whipped out of the parking lot, nearly hitting Gail Wheeler, 54, a retail operations manager from Erie who was on her way home from the grocery store.

“Two seconds later, I hear these sirens, and they come whipping past me,” she told The Associated Press.

Wheeler followed behind for a couple miles. She said the chase slowed suddenly from 50 mph to about 20 mph when the road narrowed from four lanes to two.

One of the pursuing troopers picked his spot — in front of an abandoned school — and hit 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 “I heard a shot. It was loud and distinctive,” Wheeler said.

“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.”

Stephens killed himself, authorities said.

State police Major William Teper Jr. said the trooper who bumped Stephens’ car “saw him pull the gun out and shoot himself.”

___

Associated Press researcher Monika Mathur in Washington contributed to this report.

Michael Rubinkam, The Associated Press

Just Posted

B.C. BUDGET: New spaces a step to universal child care

Fees reduced for licensed daycare operators

BC BUDGET: NDP cracks down on speculators, hidden ownership

Foreign buyers’ tax extended to Fraser Valley, Okanagan, Vancouver Island

B.C. BUDGET: Payroll tax replaces medical premiums

Health spending to increase $1.5 billion for drugs, primary care teams

MRI wanted for Salmon Arm

Resident urges council to support request, points to many advantages

Saturday snowfall breaks Salmon Arm record

Previous snowfall high was measured on Feb. 17, 1900

Hope raises thousands for two Kelowna charities

The event Hope in Her Eyes managed to raise more than $17,000 for two Kelowna non-profits

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Northern B.C. runner earns medal for U20 Team Canada at Pan American race

B.C. record-breaking runner Tyler Dozzi says it was unlike anything else earning silver for Canada

Young Selkirks make a splash

Rec centre packed for 200-swimmer regional event

Golds finish league games

Salmon Arm to host valley championships next weekend

BC BUDGET: NDP push for purpose-built rentals in ‘historic’ $1.6B investment

Hundreds of thousands of new low- and middle-income units coming over three years

B.C. BUDGET: More for wildfire recovery, campsites

NDP government to hire 20 more Conservation Officers this year

B.C. BUDGET: Liberals blast ‘tax and spend’ plan

Payroll tax, carbon tax increase threaten growth, opposition critics say

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Most Read