A 36-year-old “mentally ill” man in the United States has live-streamed his own death on Facebook when a police officer shot him during a traffic stop. Rodney James Hess was streaming on Facebook Live when he was shot on Thursday, his family said in their own Facebook posting. He was stopped by police in Alamo, Tennessee and was killed as his fiancee watched on helplessly online.
Mr. Hess was shot after Crockett County sheriff’s deputies approached his vehicle because it was parked at a perpendicular angle along Highway 412 near the west Tennessee town of Alamo, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation spokesman Josh DeVine said in a statement.
Officers reported that Mr. Hess refused officer commands, made erratic statements and tried to strike officers at least twice with his vehicle, Mr. DeVine said. ALSO READ: Facebook Live videos to get more annoying as company starts testing pop-up window feature
“During the escalation of events, at least one Crockett County deputy fired his service weapon through the front windshield of the vehicle driven by Hess, striking him,” Mr. DeVine said. “At this time, we do not believe Hess used a firearm in connection to this incident.” Mr. Hess’ video shows officers standing near the car and he can be heard saying, “I would like the higher commands to come out.”
“I found out as it was happening. I was at work and my aunt called me and was like, ‘Rodney is in trouble.’ He was on Facebook and I logged on and I watched it,” his fiancee, Johnisha Provost, said. “He just suffered from mental illness and people need to be aware of how to deal with mental illness. They could have just shot his tyres out or they could have handled it differently. They didn’t have to kill him,” she said.
The video image became jerky and captured sounds of a commotion and a loud, sharp sound, followed by a man screaming. The video showed the interior of a vehicle and passing scenery until a crashing sound occurs, CNN reported.
The shooting is currently being investigated.