By News Desk
A man live streamed his death on Facebook as he set himself on fire and ran into a crowded bar on Saturday.
The 33-year-old man, Jared McLemore, had drenched himself in kerosene and burst into flames. The body was identified by the Memphis police department, which said McLemore had been taken to the Regional Medical Centre where he passed away from his injuries.
In the video, McLemore had burst into flames and run off the screen. The video has been removed from Facebook, however, it remains unclear as to how long the video remained online and how far it had been circulated or viewed.
A spokesperson for Facebook refrained from answering questions about the details of the incident but provided a statement saying: “We are deeply saddened by the loss of Jared McLemore. 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 organisations around the world to provide assistance for people in distress.”
According to WMCAction News, the police are treating the incident as a suicide. Jim Duckworth, a witness, told Buzzfeed News that McLemore “came in screaming and on fire”. Duckworth said he had just finished playing a gig with his girlfriend Kim Koehler when McLemore ran into the crowded Murphy’s Bar. “I had a quick second of disbelief – it does not look like a thing that happens in life, It looked like a thing that you see in the movies,” he added.
Koehler had grabbed a blanket and thrown it over McLemore to try and stop the flames as people ran out of the bar. A surveillance video from outside the bar showed that the flames went out in almost a minute. However, Duckworth said: “It seemed like it took 10 minutes to put him out. He was screaming and writhing in pain. It was so difficult to put out the fire, particularly on his head.”
Another man, Paul Garner, identified by Duckworth, had also been taken to the hospital for injuries sustained when he had tried to kick the lighter away from McLemore. Garner wrote on Facebook that he had suffered second degree burns but was okay.
McLemore’s ex-girlfriend, Alyssa Moore, was working at Murphy’s bar as a sound engineer on Saturday night according to Duckworth. Alyssa’s sister, Sara Moore, told Buzzfeed that her sister did not have any comments but was thankful for all the support. “Alyssa is thinking of everyone who had to witness this, both in person and on Facebook Live,” said Sara. “Those who were at Murphy’s that night to enjoy the music witnessed Jared targeting Alyssa at her workplace, terrorising her, and also terrorising as many others as he could in the process,” she added. “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.”
In the statement, Sara also said Alyssa had an active restraining order against McLemore. “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.” she added. At the same time Sara said: “Jared’s family is also in Alyssa’s heart.”
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A page was started to help raise funds for Alyssa Moore on Sunday which surpassed its initial goal of $6,300 on the very first night and reached approximately $25,000 in donations. Sara said the initial goal had been to raise money for bills, therapy and the equipment Alyssa had lost but because of the overwhelming support, part of the funds will be utilised to help the community heal from this incident.
Murphy’s bar posted on its Facebook page that their “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,” it added.
Earlier this month Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg had announced that the firm would hire 3,000 people to remove such incidents and other violent content as quickly as possible from the digital platform.