When Facebook came out in the early 2000s, no one could have predicted the type of global force that had been developed in Zuckerberg’s Harvard dorm room and at this point, it’s more of a news outlet than a place to post your vacation pics, and with the introduction of Facebook Live back in August of 2015 (or January 2016 if you weren’t VIP), the site has given birth to a new type of citizen journalism.
People across the world are showcasing themselves live and in the moment. Most times it’s them singing in a car, other times it’s social commentary or anecdotes, but recently we’ve seen Facebook Live used as something of a way to exhibit life’s more turbulent times. And whether it’s purposeful or coincidental, the application has seen more than its fair share of death and sorrow. In a little over a year, people have Live Streamed some truly horrible events that have sent shockwaves throughout the nation and even the world. If you’re oblivious to these tragedies or haven’t turned on the news (or news feed) in twelve months, then take some time to scroll through the following fifteen horrific events that were broadcasted on Facebook Live.
15. Couple Publicly Overdosing
Carla Hiers. That’s the name of the 59-year-old woman doubled over on her knees on that hot Memphis, Tennessee sidewalk. And that’s her husband in the background sprawled out on a city bench. This is a screencap of the Facebook Live video that was streaming a few minutes after the couple snorted a bag of heroin in a Walgreen’s bathroom. The video was shot by Courtland Garner, a young Tennessee resident who continued to film while the two slipped into unconsciousness and a crowd looked on and snickered instead of lending a helping hand. Paramedics did eventually revive the two long term drug addicts. Hiers was booked on $200 bond while her husband’s whereabouts are presently unknown.
People were obviously aghast when the video went live. It showed a side of America’s heroin epidemic that the public wasn’t ready to acknowledge. Garner took a lot of heat for broadcasting the video instead of taking immediate action, but he thinks the video acted as a word of caution to potential users. In regards to the criticism he said, “I know for a fact all the kids are on social media, and when kids see that video, you know what they are going to say? I don’t want to look stupid like that I don’t want to do those drugs.”
14. Wingsuit Pilot Broadcasts Live Crash
A wingsuit basically makes a person look like a flying squirrel and whoever uses one has been known to fly through the air at speeds close to 70 mph. Last August, 28-year-old Armin Schmieder strapped on his wingsuit for the second time. The experienced skydiver fell in love with the sport earlier that year and wanted to share his love of the sport with the rest of the world. He attached his GoPro camera to his helmet and told his viewers, “Today you fly with me.” The sentence would be his last words. The father-of-one then waved goodbye to the camera with a smile and leaped off of a mountain peak near Kandersteg in Switzerland as people watched on their devices at home. After a few moments, a shout can be heard and then the sound of impact and then nothing. Just a distant sound of cowbells and people commenting on the still streaming video asking him to please respond.
13. The Accidental Shooting
During the holidays this past year, a group of friends got together in Cleveland, Ohio for a small dinner party at the home of 30-year-old Steven Leannais. Before the meal was served, 27-year-old Anthony Stanford ventures into the bedroom of Leannais and pulls out the homeowner’s handgun before taking to Facebook Live to show off the firearm to the world. Stanford points it at the camera and even puts it in his mouth before Leannais steps into frame, warns Stanford the gun was loaded and removes the clip himself. The friends then exit to the dinner table and the feed ends. What happens when the camera goes off is what makes the video so eerie. Allegedly at dinner, Leannais lowered the gun to his side and pulled the trigger, unaware a bullet remained in the chamber. The bullet struck Stanford in the abdomen and he died shortly after being shot. Leannais was charged and apologized profusely to his friend’s mother, telling her he would gladly trade places with the deceased if it could somehow be possible.
12. Teen Girls Stream Their Own Demise
“Are you going live?” Those were the last words said by 19-year-old passenger, Chaniya Morrison-Toomey, and the last words her friend, and driver at the time, 18-year-old Brooke Miranda Hughes heard. The two were driving along a Pennsylvania highway, relatively slowly according to reports, when Hughes switched on Facebook Live and began broadcasting to the world. Unfortunately, the feed lasted only a few seconds before headlights fill the car from behind followed by a tire screech, a bang, and then screams. The stream goes black while the video stays rolling for some time before a blurry image can be seen taking the phone before it finally ends. According to police, a tractor-trailer collided with the back of the girls’ vehicle just before midnight. The car was consumed in flames and killed both of the teenagers inside.
11. Pledge To Attack Again Live On Facebook
The face above belongs to 25-year-old accused jihadist Larossi Abballa, and in June of 2016 he stabbed and killed French police commander, Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and his girlfriend, Jessica Schneider. Shortly after their murder, Abballa broadcasted a live Facebook video from inside the couple’s home while their 3-year-old son can be seen sitting on a sofa in the background. He first pledges allegiance to ISIS and then promises the Euro 2016 Soccer Championship would be turned into “a cemetery,” and assured viewers at home that the United States would have a slew of terror coming their way during Ramadan. The SWAT team traced the video and was able to intercept Aballa in the house shortly after he began recording. Needless to say, his Facebook page, along with his physical presence, was deleted that very day.
10. Actor Takes His Own Life
Frederick Jay Bowdy was a handsome 33-year-old who left his teaching job in Texas to take his shot at fame in Los Angeles but instead, was stuck with bit parts and a gig at a Hollywood male strip club. Which by L.A. standards really isn’t that bad. In fact, it’s a pretty good start, but it wasn’t good enough for Bowdy and when he was charged with sexual assault it was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Three days after making bail, the aspiring actor took to Facebook to broadcast Live from his car, telling viewers he was killing himself as he slowly slipped off to his demise. People thought it was an acting stunt, but a worried family member watching the incident called the LAPD who rushed to Bowdy’s residence but wasn’t fast enough to save the man’s life.
9. Chicago Torture Video
On New Year’s Eve of this year, a teenager suffering from schizophrenia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder met his friend, 18-year-old Jordan Hill, and kept him hostage with the help of three other friends. The four assailants stole a van and drove to a Chicago apartment where they kept him bound for several days. When the boy’s mother called Hill to ask about her son’s whereabouts, Hill was angered and demanded a $300 ransom for his release. Much of the ordeal was broadcasted Live on Facebook by the attackers themselves, making no effort to hide their faces while vocalizing their distaste for Donald Trump and whites in general. After getting into an argument with the downstairs neighbor, police were able to track the group down and free the kidnapped boy, but not until all the world became live witnesses to a horrific hate crime.
8. Antonio Perkins Shot
At the time of this video’s posting in June, Chicago had seen 278 deaths in 2016 and ten alone the night this went live. The Facebook Live video shows 28-year-old Antonio Perkins enjoying a relaxing evening in his Chicago neighborhood. He’s surrounded by friends, children, and his girlfriend, but around the five and a half minute mark the mood shifts. Antonio stops looking at the camera and instead looks off into the distance. That’s when the gunshots start and the camera drops into the blood-drenched grass. People can be heard screaming to Antonio to stay conscious. His girlfriend tells him how much she loves him, and they frantically try to determine whether or not flipping him on his back will result in him choking on his own blood. He was pronounced dead under 30 minutes later.
7. 14 Year Old Girl Takes Her Own Life
Naika Venant was seven-years-old when she was taken away from her mother for abuse and put into foster care. After years of living with her foster parents, Naika took to her bathroom in the early hours of the morning to broadcast a two-hour long Facebook Live video that ended with her fashioning a noose out of a scarf and hanging herself from the shower frame while her foster parents slept in the next room. A friend watching the Live stream notified police but authorities went to the caller’s house rather than Naika’s. The friend was unable to give them the correct address and by the time paramedics finally arrived the young girl was dead. Authorities are looking into prosecuting the foster parents while Naika’s birth mother is devastated after trying desperately to regain custody for years.
6. Mother Passes Away Beside Her Son
“It’s amazing for someone to sit there and see somebody or hear them take their last breath and nobody did anything.” Those are the words of Richard Herndon, the father of Keiana Herndon, the twenty-five-year-old mother of two who died Live on Facebook. The Arkansas woman started off the video singing and even turned the spotlight on her son who was by her side. Everything seemed perfectly fine until Keiana began to sweat profusely and then suddenly dropped to the floor along with her phone where she passed away. The autopsy claimed she died due to complications with thyroid issues, but while many people watched their “friend” collapse before their eyes, people still wonder why nobody took immediate action. It wasn’t until thirty minutes later that someone finally notified the authorities.
5. Radio DJ Shot During Broadcast
Luis Manuel Medina was a radio personality and producer in the Dominican Republic who appreciated Facebook Live from a news standpoint. He would frequently use the app to Live Stream his radio broadcast news show from his studio. A few weeks ago in February of 2017 during the middle of his show, assassins stormed into the studio, shooting Medina and his producer. You can hear a rustling in the background of the video before some gunfire is heard followed by a woman yelling, “Shots! Shots! Shots!” That’s when the assailants enter Medina’s studio. The DJ is able to keep his composure as best he can, but his eyes visibly widen as they approach. The rest doesn’t need to be described here. The attack is presently under investigation.
4. Three Men Shot Live On Facebook
The video starts off like any other throwaway Facebook Live video. A couple of friends getting high in a car, rapping along to the radio on a sunny day. After a few minutes however, they’re interrupted by a gunman who quickly approaches the vehicle and fires several shots at the three men. It’s a horrific thing to watch. We can see one of the victim’s sneakers on the seat as he struggles to get out of the car before the camera lays motionless on the seat of the car showing nothing but a ripped off club bracelet. Two of the men are reported to be doing better while the third is still in critical condition. The video is now evidence in the shooting and caused a stir as to what should be allowed to stay on Facebook in regards to decency and ethics. Facebook claims the video can be used to identify the shooter while others feel it’s a gruesome act that should be reserved for investigators and investigators only.
3. 12 Year Old Girl Takes Her Own Life
On December 27th of 2016, Katelyn Nicole Davis wrote on her blog about how she had been sexually abused by a relative. She disclosed information of how the man beat her with a studded belt and told her to “hang herself” when she told him to stop being so perverted in front of her younger siblings. Three days later, she went on Facebook Live, retold the story to viewers and then proceeded to act on her abuser’s advice. She hung herself from a tree in her front yard for twenty minutes. By the time police arrived on the scene, Katelyn was dead, and authorities didn’t even know she had filmed it until a police officer in California saw it and notified the Georgia police. Facebook took the video down, but only after it had gone viral. Police have done what they can to stop the sharing of the video, but have found roadblocks with such a task as the sites the video was shared on have no legal obligation to delete the disturbing video.
2. A Man, Two-Year-Old Boy, And A Pregnant Woman Caught in Drive By
“Call 911! They killed him. … I have a bullet in my stomach,” are some of the last words broadcasted Live on the woman’s Facebook video, “Please, please, I can’t breathe,” she says. “Oh my God, please don’t, Lord, I can’t go. I can’t go.” A few moments earlier she was in a car with her boyfriend and his two-year-old nephew. The three were singing along to the radio when shots were fired at the car. The man and his nephew each took a bullet to the head, dying instantly. The woman, who is pregnant, was shot in the stomach. She immediately darts from the car the first chance she has and takes refuge in a nearby alley, shouting for help. Luckily, she and her unborn baby survived the attack and Chicago authorities have vowed to find the people responsible for this heinous act.
1. Philando Castile Shot By The Police
The most infamous Facebook Live video was broadcasted on July 6, 2016 when Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black man was pulled over in Minnesota with his girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, and her four-year-old daughter. Two officers approached the vehicle and when asked if he had any weapons on his person he informed the officer he had a gun in his pants pocket as well as a legal permit to carry, but when Castile reached for his I.D. the officer fired seven shots, fatally wounding Castile. Reynolds immediately whipped out her phone to showcase the event Live on Facebook. The video shows Castile slumped over, bleeding through his white shirt and quickly drifting away from this world. The officer pleads with him to stay conscious but it was too late. Recently the officer has been charged with manslaughter, one of the few police officers to see a conviction after unjustly firing his weapon.