The Erie, Pennsylvania, McDonald's employees who tipped off police and tried to stall Facebook murder suspect Steve Stephens are being called heroes on social media.
People quickly took to Twitter, saying that the workers deserve the $50,000 reward for finding and helping lead police to Stephens Tuesday.
Authorities said Stephens, 37, killed 74-year-old Robert Godwin Sr. in Cleveland Sunday, then posted video of the shooting on Facebook.
A multistate manhunt ensued, and there was no sign of Stephens until about 11 a.m. Tuesday. Thomas DuCharme Jr., the owner of the Erie McDonald's, said a worker there recognized Stephens as he came through the drive-thru and alerted her supervisor.
"I looked out and I'm like, 'It sure does look a lot like him,'" DuCharme remembered. "She (the drive-thru worker) was already on the phone at that time, so hats off to my crew and the managers. I'm just so proud of them."
DuCharme said a supervisor went to the window and tried to stall Stephens by telling him that his order of fries would need more time to cook.
Stephens took his six-piece Chicken McNuggets and declined to wait for the fries, however. Police caught up with Stephens shortly after the exchange, and, following a brief chase, Stephens shot and killed himself, according to officials.
DuCharme released the following statement to KTLA sister station WJW in Cleveland:
I’m thankful for the quick actions of my crew members to identify the suspect and commend the authorities for their efforts in informing the public of this individual. The entire McDonald’s family’s thoughts and prayers are with the families affected by this tragic situation.
It's not yet clear if the McDonald's employees will receive any of the $50,000 offered by the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshal Service, but law enforcement officials told TMZ that the workers were crucial in tracking down Stephens.
A growing chorus of social media users, however, feel the workers should be rewarded:
Why is it a debate if these McDonald's employees get the reward or not?! THEY HELPED GET A MURDERER OFF THE STREETS
— Lamar J 🦅🦅🍻 (@Lamar28) April 19, 2017
There should be no question that the McDonald's employees get the $50,000 reward for turning him in, & I will throw @VansWarpedTour tickets
— KevinLyman (@KevinLyman) April 19, 2017
— MtnDew4Life (@MtnDew4Life1) April 19, 2017
Never judge someone for where they work. A McDonald's employee tipped off police to catch steve stephens. They deserve the 50,000 reward.
— RyansAverageLife (@RyanAbe) April 18, 2017
— ℒaiℒa 🌹🇩🇰 (@Dittolaila) April 18, 2017