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April 17, 2017

Philadelphia police search Fairmount Park after alleged sighting of Facebook Live killer

Philadelphia police searched Fairmount Park on Monday after Steve Stephens, the Cleveland suspect sought for streaming the killing of an innocent man on Facebook Live, allegedly was spotted on park grounds.

A multi-state search was initiated Sunday night after the gruesome video, which depicts Stephens fatally shooting 74-year-old Robert Godwin at point blank range, was published online. Early Monday morning, CNN reported authorities in Erie, Pennsylvania, had picked up a signal from Stephens' cell phone.

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By Monday afternoon, reports surfaced that Philadelphia police had descended on Fairmount Park for an unconfirmed sighting of Stephens. Police said there was no indication Stephens was in fact at the park, but the search was launched as a precaution.

Nine city elementary schools in 16th, 18th, 19th and 22nd police districts had been placed on lockdown. 

"We just received 911 calls," a Philadelphia police spokesperson said. "We were out there interviewing the people who made these reports." 

Cleveland police and U.S. marshals have requested additional backup to search for Stephens in New York, Michigan and Indiana.

The suspect's mother told authorities she had spoken to her son on Saturday, the day before Godwin was killed, and he said it would be a miracle if she ever saw him again. The following day, Stephens reportedly said he was shooting people because he was upset about his girlfriend.

Cleveland police received more than 300 tips about Stephens since Sunday. A $50,000 reward is available for information on Stephens' whereabouts. 

Stephens stands 6 feet 1 inches tall and weighs 244 pounds. He was last seen wearing a striped polo shirt and was driving a white Ford Fusion with temporary license plates. Police said Stephens is armed and dangerous.

Check back for updates on this developing story.