A Memphis man died after setting himself on fire while livestreaming on Facebook and then running into a crowded bar early Saturday.
The shocking video shows the man, identified by police as Jared McLemore, 33, dousing himself in kerosene and then bursting into flames. He then runs off screen. The Memphis Police Department said McLemore was taken to Regional Medical Center, where he later died from his injuries, according to WMCA.
The video has since been taken off Facebook, and it was not immediately clear how long it had been online or how many times it was viewed. A Facebook spokesperson declined to answer questions about additional details but provided a statement on the incident.
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jared McLemore," a Facebook spokesperson said in a statement. "We don’t allow the promotion of self-injury or suicide on Facebook. We want people to have a safe experience on Facebook and we work with organizations around the world to provide assistance for people in distress."
Police are treating McLemore's death as a suicide, according to WMCA. The Memphis Police Department did not respond to requests for additional comment from BuzzFeed News.
"He came in screaming and on fire," witness Jim Duckworth told BuzzFeed News. He said he was inside Murphy's Bar, in midtown Memphis, and had just finished playing a gig with his girlfriend Kim Koehler, when he saw McLemore run into the crowded bar on fire.
"I had a quick second of disbelief — it does not look like a thing that happens in life," Duckworth said. "It looked like a thing that you see in the movies."
As people started to run out of the bar, Koehler grabbed a blanket and threw it over McLemore in an attempt to stop the flames, Duckworth said. "It seemed like it took ten minutes to put him out," Koehler said to BuzzFeed News, but surveillance video from outside of the bar shows that the flames were mostly out in under a minute.
"He was screaming and writhing in pain," Duckworth said. "It was so difficult to put out the fire, particularly in his head."
Police said a second man, identified by Duckworth as Paul Garner, was taken to the hospital with injuries sustained when he tried to kick a lighter away from McLemore. He suffered second-degree burns, but is ok, Garner said on Facebook.
According to Duckworth, McLemore's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa Moore, had been working at Murphy's as a sound engineer Saturday night.
Moore's older sister, Sara Moore, told BuzzFeed News that her sister does not wish to comment, but that she is thankful for the support that has been offered to her.
"Alyssa is thinking of everyone who had to witness this, both in person and on Facebook Live," Sara Moore said in a statement shared with BuzzFeed News. "Those who were at Murphy’s that night to enjoy the music witnessed Jared targeting Alyssa in her workplace, terrorizing her, and also terrorizing as many others as he could in the process. Alyssa knows many have been affected by this event, for many reasons, and hopes that when she's ready, she'll be able to give back the same love and support she's received from so many of you."
The statement also said that Alyssa Moore had an active restraining order against McLemore.
"Jared's family is also in Alyssa's heart," the statement continued. "We want to make clear that this happened because of a perfect storm of domestic abuse, the stigma around it, and the visceral reality of mental illness."
In a message posted to the bar's Facebook page, Murphy's wrote that its "crew is safe."
"Our family here at Murphy's would like to thank all of you for your kind words and thoughts at this time," the post read. "We will let you know more details as permitted."
A GoFundMe page was started Sunday to help raise funds for Alyssa Moore. By Sunday night, the campaign had already far surpassed its initial goal of $6,300 and was nearing $25,000 in donations.
"The initial goal was to raise money to help pay for Alyssa’s bills, therapy, the equipment she lost, and the time away from the public eye she needs to recover from this horrifying incident," Sara Moore said in the statement. "But because of your overwhelming support, part of this money will be used to help the community heal from this."
The violent incident is the latest in a string of gruesome acts broadcast over Facebook's live video platform. In the last month alone, a Thai man broadcast himself killing his baby daughter, an Alabama man livestreamed his suicide, and a man in Cleveland uploaded video of himself murdering a stranger.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced earlier this month that the company would hire 3,000 people in an effort to more quickly respond to and remove violent content.
Michelle Broder Van Dyke is a reporter and night editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in Hawaii.
Contact Michelle Broder Van Dyke at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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