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Man Sets Himself On Fire On Facebook Live

| by Sarah Zimmerman

A Memphis man died May 14 after setting himself on fire and recording himself over Facebook live as he ran into a crowded bar.

The video shows Jared McLemore, 33, dousing himself with kerosene and then setting himself on fire, according to NBC. He then runs off screen and into a crowded bar. 

Witnesses say that McLemore was a local musician. He targeted the bar Murphy's because his ex-girlfriend worked there. Court records show that McLemore was sentenced to probation for domestic assault charges after threatening to kill her.

"It was the most horrific thing I've seen," said witness Kim Koehler. "He believed that suicide would be the ultimate revenge on her."

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WREG reports that witnesses were at first not sure if what they were seeing was some type of stunt.

"This overwhelming smell of kerosene filled the room," said Jim Duckworth, who was playing with his band at the time. "Before you [saw] anything, the smell filled the room."

Koehler said that when McLemore finally entered the room, the reaction was mixed. Some screamed in horror, others tried to put out the flame, and some thought that the whole scene was some type of prank.

"It looked like a movie, like someone wearing a flame-retardant suit," she said. "There were some people who thought that it was a joke."

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Several threw their shirts onto the burning man as an attempt to smother the flame. NBC reports that one man was burned after trying to kick the lighter away from McLemore. He was taken to the hospital and expected to make a full recovery.

McLemore's family has released a statement emphasizing that the 33-year-old suffered from a mental illness.

"No one knows how devastating this is for family to see on video and being reminded over and over in social media," the family wrote.

"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."

The local Memphis community has raised $18,000 for the ex-girlfriend, who was working in the bar that night as an audio engineer, so she can pay for trauma therapy and for the damages wrought to her audio equipment.

The incident occurred only a week after Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerburg announced that he will be hiring 3,000 new moderators to crack down on the recent influx of disturbing material, including videos of torture and murder, being uploaded via Facebook Live. 

Sources: WREG, NBC / Photo credit: Jason Howie/Flickr

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