In the wake of Robert Godwin Sr. being shot and killed by Steve Stephens on Facebook Live, Mark Zuckerberg said, “We will keep doing all we can to prevent tragedies like this from happening.” Those comments were made during the “F8” Facebook Developer Conference on April 18. Less than one month later, Facebook Live is again making headlines after Memphis musician Jared McLemore drenched himself with kerosene, set himself on fire, and ran into a crowded bar while recording the event on Facebook Live Saturday.
Witnesses at Murphy’s bar who were interviewed by Memphis' CBS affiliate WREG said McLemore was purposely attempting to involve an ex-girlfriend. Users on the sub-Reddit r/Memphis also speculated the suicide was connected to McLemore’s former girlfriend, who worked sound at Murphy’s. According to WREG, there are court records confirming McLemore’s 2016 arrest for strangling his ex-girlfriend in a domestic violence attack. The woman is believed to have had a restraining order against McLemore.
“The worst part is, many different people contacted the police about this guy and they never did anything,” noted one Reddit user.
According to eyewitnesses, the strong smell of kerosene permeated Murphy’s as soon as McLemore went in. After the incident, his phone was reportedly still burning on a nearby sidewalk after paramedics removed him on a stretcher.
Various reports confirm McLemore was pronounced dead at a Memphis area hospital. He was 33.
McLemore’s death is the latest in a series of gory, high-profile incidents to be captured on Facebook Live. Diamond Reynolds streamed a Minnesota police officer shooting and killing her boyfriend, Philando Castile, on Facebook Live in July 2016. Castile and Godwin’s deaths bookended similar events, such as Jay Bowdy committing suicide on Facebook Live in January 2017 and a 15-year-old Chicago girl being sexually assaulted as nearly 40 people watched on Facebook Live without alerting the police.