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Army veteran, 33, shoots himself dead in Facebook live-stream

An Army veteran has shot himself in a Facebook live-stream despite his friends’ desperate attempts to reach him and stop the tragedy.

Ronnie McNutt, 33, an Iraq War veteran, broadcast his shooting himself in the head over the social media site on August 31.

The harrowing footage has since been posted on TikTok and has been viewed so many times that it allegedly appeared on the app’s ‘For You’ homepage.

TikTok says they are banning anyone who is sharing the video which has been described by users as ‘extremely gory and terrifying.’

Ronnie McNutt, 31, an Iraq War veteran, broadcast his shooting himself in the head over Facebook on August 31

Ronnie McNutt, 31, an Iraq War veteran, broadcast his shooting himself in the head over Facebook on August 31

Ronnie McNutt, 31, an Iraq War veteran, broadcast his shooting himself in the head over Facebook on August 31 (pictured: his broadcast, left, and in an Instagram post, right)

Friends of McNutt spoke of their sorrow last week after the Mississippian streamed his tragic death.

One wrote online: ‘Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt. He just killed himself live on Facebook and I cannot unsee this.

‘I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him. I wasn’t quick enough.

‘Dear God, I wish I could have got to him.’

Since then the social media sites have been trying to take the footage down as those who have witnessed it urge others to avoid TikTok.

One wrote on Twitter: ‘If you see this guy on your For You page, please scroll up immediately.

‘It’s very gruesome and I highly suggest you stay away from TikTok for a while.’

McNutt was an Iraq War veteran who worked for Toyota in Blue Spring, New Albany

McNutt was an Iraq War veteran who worked for Toyota in Blue Spring, New Albany

A TikTok spokesman said: ‘On Sunday night, clips of a suicide that had been livestreamed on Facebook circulated on other platforms, including TikTok.

‘Our systems have been automatically detecting and flagging these clips for violating our policies against content that displays, praises, glorifies, or promotes suicide.

‘We are banning accounts that repeatedly try to upload clips, and we appreciate our community members who’ve reported content and warned others against watching, engaging, or sharing such videos on any platform out of respect for the person and their family.

‘If anyone in our community is struggling with thoughts of suicide or concerned about someone who is, we encourage them to seek support, and we provide access to hotlines directly from our app and in our Safety Centre.’

Facebook said in a statement: ‘We removed the original video from Facebook last month on the day it was streamed and have used automation technology to remove copies and uploads since that time. Our thoughts remain with Ronnie’s family and friends during this difficult time.’ 

McNutt, who worked for Toyota in Blue Spring, New Albany, had recently broken up with his girlfriend and also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, a friend said. 

Josh Steen, a friend and co-host of a podcast with McNutt, told Heavy: ‘He didn’t seem to be the same guy that left for Iraq once he exited the service. I spent many a late night in our studio, via text message, and in person talking with him about life and his struggles.

‘Mental health issues are very, very real, and I honestly think that there are a lot of people who struggle with all areas of mental illness who let it go untreated. Or treat it with other things, it seems.’

Steen added that he’d been alerted to the video when it was being broadcast and had attempted to call McNutt several times.

Steen said that he did not believe that McNutt had set out to kill himself but that he was ‘incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result.’

McNutt was described as 'very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric,' by his church

McNutt was described as 'very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric,' by his church

McNutt was described as ‘very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric,’ by his church (pictured: in his Army days, left, and a more recent photo, right)

Steen told Heavy: ‘I tried multiple times to call him, from my cell phone and our phone at the theatre; both numbers he would easily recognise. I watched him pick his phone up, think for a second, and then decline my calls.

‘I really thought that if I could just get him to break his focus for just a second it would be alright. His laugh always made me laugh, and I’m glad that I have our archives to back through to hear it whenever I want to now.’ 

McNutt was a member of the Celebration Church Tupelo and they confirmed his death on September 1. 

‘In the midst of a sudden tragedy that occurred last night, we grieve with the McNutt Family during this time because passing of our brother in Christ, Ronnie McNutt,’ the church said on Facebook.

‘Ronnie will be missed by all who loved and knew him.

‘He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric. He served his church faithfully and was loved by many. 

Posts have appeared warning users to stay away from TikTok due to the viral footage of McNutt

Posts have appeared warning users to stay away from TikTok due to the viral footage of McNutt

‘Although events surrounding his death were tragic, we take comfort in our Creator, believing that because of Ronnie’s confession and conversion as a believer in Christ Jesus, he is currently before our loving Father.’  

TikTok, whose China-based owner Bytedance has been ordered by President Donald Trump to sell its U.S. operations, has been criticised for its content moderation policy in the past, especially on circulation of graphic content.

The company rolled out a new content moderation infrastructure in December under which it labeled the videos that were removed by the company with the policy category they violated, it said in its transparency report published in July.

For confidential support in the US call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.

For confidential support in the US call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org for details.

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