Cleveland Facebook Shooting Victim's Children Forgive Killer, Say Father Taught Them to Love, Fear Lord

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The children of a Cleveland man whose fatal shooting was uploaded to Facebook by his killer have said their father raised them to love the Lord and that their Christian faith allows them to forgive his murderer.
Robert Godwin Sr. had 10 children and 14 grandchildren Twitter

"You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." Genesis 50:20

The children of a Cleveland man whose fatal shooting was uploaded to Facebook by his killer have said their father raised them to love the Lord and that their Christian faith allows them to forgive his murderer.

On Tuesday, the family of Robert Godwin Sr. was interviewed on CNN, and spoke of forgiveness and God's love.

"Each of us forgives the killer, the murderer," Godwin's daughter, Tonya Godwin-Baines told local TV station FOX 8. "We want to wrap our arms around him."

"I want him to know that God loves him," Godwin-Baines continued. "We love him. Yes, we're hurt. But we have to forgive him, because if we don't forgive him, the Bible says your Heavenly Father won't forgive you."

She added that Godwin taught his children how to love God and fear God, and how to forgive.

Said Godwin's tearful son, Robert Godwin Jr.: "Steve, I forgive you. I'm not happy [with] what you did but I forgive you."

Debbie Godwin, a pastor, said: "They don't make men like him anymore. He was definitely one in a million."

Godwin's granddaughter recalled her grandfather as "a quiet man" who surprised some family members when he recently spoke at Debbie's ordination.

Debbie Godwin said her father frequently fished in Lake Erie and collected aluminum cans to turn in for money - a hobby he was enjoying when he was gunned down. She said he had a good retirement plan from his years as a foundry worker but that "it was just something to do."

She added that growing up, her father frequently took her shopping. He was "a great man, a sweet man," she said. "All my life, all I've ever known for my dad to be a provider."

Debbie Godwin
(Photo : Twitter)
Debbie Godwin, pastor of Repairer Of The Breach Ministries Of Hope International, pictured with her father, 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr.

As reported, the 74-year-old -- who was a father of nine and grandfather of 14 -- was murdered in a Facebook Live video by a man named Steve Stephens over Easter weekend. Stephens, 37, later posted a video of the murder on Facebook, which has been widely shared online. In the video, he says a woman's name and asks Godwin to repeat it. "She's the reason that this is about to happen to you," he says as the older man tried to shield himself with a shopping bag.

The gun is fired, and Godwin recoils and falls to the ground. On Monday night, Facebook issued a statement saying that they were "working on improving our reporting process" to ensure that videos like this can't be shared. 

Following a two day, multi-state manhunt, Stephens shot and killed himself Tuesday after he was spotted by police in Erie County, Pennsylvania, state police said. 

Stephens' mother said her son was randomly shooting people because he was angry at a girlfriend, and police have said he had no connection to Godwin.

Steve Stephens
(Photo : Facebook)
Steve Stephens remained at large as of Tuesday morning amid a multi-state manhunt.

CNN reports that more than 400 tips had funneled in from as far away as Texas, but many were reported sightings that turned out to be false. 

Tags : Cleveland, Facebook shooting, Facebook live shooting, Steve Stephens, Steven Stephens, Robert Godwin Sr., Cleveland shooting, manhunt