Man dies after setting himself on fire on Facebook Live
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A video of a man setting himself on fire on Facebook Live quickly made its rounds on social media.
The fire happened in the 1500 block of Madison Avenue just after midnight.
According to Memphis Police Department, Jared McLemore was attempting suicide.
Police said he was taken to Regional Medical Center in critical condition with severe burns on his body. He later died from his injuries.
"It was the most horrific thing I've seen," witness Kim Koehler said.
The video is tough to watch, and it's graphic. The Facebook Live video posted by McLemore shows him pouring gas on himself. A short time later, he's seen on fire.
"This gentleman comes breaking into the bar totally on fire, head to foot," witness Jim Duckworth said.
Koehler saw the man running inside Murphy's Bar on fire Friday night. She and many others tried to help.
"All I cared about was getting the fire out and making sure my loved ones were safe," Koehler said.
Nearby video surveillance shows the fire inside the bar and people running out.
Police also said a second man was burned and taken to a hospital after he tried to kick the lighter away.
Koehler said she knows McLemore's ex-girlfriend, who works at Murphy's, and said he had a history of domestic violence.
Last year, McLemore threatened to kill his then-girlfriend, according to court records. According to social media, McLemore said he suffered from bipolar disorder.
"He believed that suicide would be the ultimate revenge on her," Koehler said.
Fran Mosley works at HM Dessert Lounge in Midtown next door and saw the burned spot in her parking lot Saturday morning. Her restaurant was closed when everything happened.
"It was just unbelievable for me," Mosley said. "I was like 'Oh my God, there's the burned spot right there in my driveway.'"
On Sunday, McLemore's family released the following statement regarding his death:
The family of Jared McLemore would like to thank the first responders and medical team at the med for their actions during this horrific time in the early morning hours Friday. No one knows how devastating this is for family to see on video and being reminded over and over in social media. Jared was our child, brother, nephew, cousin and friend and we loved him immensely. He has been struggling with bipolar disorder for 19 years and was in active treatment. Please let him rest in peace. Thank you.
Additionally, the family of Alyssa Moore, McLemore's ex-girlfriend, also released the following statement on Sunday:
By now, it seems everyone has heard the story of what happened at Murphy's in Memphis in the early hours of Saturday, May 13. We want to thank the community for its outpouring of love and support. Alyssa is thinking of everyone who had to witness this, both in person and on Facebook Live. 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.
Jared's family is also in Alyssa's heart. 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. Alyssa tried to help Jared, and she also had to keep herself safe from him. The police were involved numerous times, and she had an active restraining order.
Specifically we want to thank Jessie Anäis Honoré, who organized the GoFundMe on Alyssa's behalf. 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. But because of your overwhelming support, part of this money will be used to help the community heal from this. Family and friends are working to organize resources for all who witnessed this, and will update with details as soon as they are available.
Please respect our family's privacy during this time so Alyssa can have the space to start healing from this nightmare. When we're ready, we will reach out to the community at large. We love you all.
In response to the recent rise of violent Facebook Live postings – including those made by people harming themselves – Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said "We're working to make these videos easier to report so we can take the right action sooner."
Facebook is also adding more than 3,000 people to its community operations team to make it easier to catch.
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