Calls are growing for the heroic McDonald’s workers who trapped the Facebook killer Steve Stephens at a drive-thru to get the $50,000 reward for his capture.
After two days on the run, the murderer’s reign of terror came to an end on Tuesday morning – thanks to the bravery of two employees at the Buffalo Road in Erie branch.
Recognizing him as the man who shot dead Robert Godwin, 74, on Sunday, they delayed him long enough for police to arrive and give chase – leading to Stephens’ death by suicide.
It was assumed the workers would split the reward offered by various police agencies, but technically the money was earmarked for those who helped lead to Stephens’ arrest prompting a chorus of people to say the money should be handed over regardless.
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The workers, who haven’t yet been identified, spotted Stephens, 37, as he pulled into their drive-thru on Buffalo Road in Erie, Pennsylvania, at around 11am.
If the police have their say, the workers will be splitting the money pooled together by the FBI, ATF and US Marshall service, the TMZ reported.
But as of yesterday, no meeting had been held over how, if at all, the money will be distributed.
Swathes of supporters have taken to social media to demand the McDonald’s employees are given their share of the $50,000.
Lamar Johnson wrote: ‘Why is it a debate if these McDonald’s employees get the reward or not?
‘They helped get a murderer off the streets.’
Kevin Lyman agreed and even said he would throw in a pair of Warped Tour tickets as part of the offering.
He said: ‘There should be no question that the McDonald’s employees get the $50,000 reward for turning him in.’
Henry Sayers, who manages the McDonald’s franchise around 100 miles from where Godwin was shot down in cold blood, said his employees recognized Stephens as he made his order.
The female attendant wasn’t absolutely certain it was him, Sayers told Pix 11, but reports that Stephens’ cell had pinged in Erie meant it was certainly possible.
After Stephens ordered what would be his last meal – 20 Chicken McNuggets and a large order of fries for $5.35 – staff called 911.
That meant fooling the killer – who had already shot at least one stranger in cold blood – into hanging around.
‘We basically told him it would be a minute for his fries, which it wasn’t really, we were just trying to make sure she got in contact with state police,’ said Tom Ducharme Jr, who runs the franchise.
Stephens was acting normal at first, Sayers said – so much so that you wouldn’t believe he was a killer. But he began to get more nervous the longer he waited.
‘I’m thinking at that point he might have been thinking someone in the store recognized him, and he was trying to get out of here,’ Ducharme said.
‘I can’t wait! I need my McNuggets!’ Stephens said before driving off. Sayers noted that he drove at a regular speed.
But the plan had worked and police arrived within 30 seconds of the call being made – just in time to catch him leaving the parking lot.
They knocked him off the road with a ‘precise immobilization technique’ (PIT) maneuver after a two-mile chase, at which point he shot himself.
Ducharme added that before making his order, Stephens had asked another employee, who was on break behind the building, for directions to the interstate – suggesting that he might have disappeared again if not stopped.
The hunt for Stephens, a job counselor who worked with teens, which began after the shooting in Cleveland’s Glenville neighborhood on Monday.
It then expanded across five states before it ended abruptly on Tuesday.
‘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,’ said police chief Calvin Williams.
Speaking exclusively to DailyMail.com, Smith described Stephens as a ‘coward,’ adding: ‘If he was going to do that he should have done it right at the beginning.
‘He was better killing himself than doing what he did. He shouldn’t have taken my baby-father and robbed them of him.’
Angela, 34, crying and screaming, added: ‘He escaped justice. My kids ain’t never gonna get closure. He should have given himself up to the police.’
By GARETH DAVIES FOR MAILONLINE