The family of the ex-girlfriend of the man who died after setting himself afire outside a Midtown bar over the weekend says the event was a "perfect storm" of mental illness, domestic abuse and the stigma surrounding it.
Alyssa Moore's family says in a written statement that Jared McLemore targeted her in her workplace with the act, "terrorizing her, and also terrorizing as many others as he could in the process."
Police have not identified the man who died in the fire, which streamed live on Facebook, but he has been widely identified in social media and in the statement by Moore's family as McLemore, a Memphis musician and music engineer.
Court records show that McLemore, 33, was charged with domestic assault Friday, the day before he set himself afire. He was also charged with assault last September and placed on diversion in April.
The affidavit from the 2016 charge says Moore was visiting her mother when McLemore showed up and threatened to kill her.
The family statement says Moore had an active restraining order against McLemore, and that "police were involved numerous times."
"Jared's family is also in Alyssa's heart," the statement continues. "We want to make clear that this happened because of a perfect storm of domestic abuse, the stigma around it, and the visceral reality of mental illness.
"Alyssa tried to help Jared, and she also had to keep herself safe from him."
McLemore's family has said in a statement: "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."
Police have not commented except for their original report on the incident. In that report, they said the man identified as McLemore was found with severe burns shortly after midnight Saturday in the 1500 block of Madison.
An unidentified witness at Murphy's, a bar where Moore was working, said the man ran inside on fire and the bartender used an extinguisher to put out the fire.
Police also found a second person who they said tried to kick away a lighter from the man who set himself on fire.
That second man was Paul Garner, a well-know local political activist.
Garner, organizing director at the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center, received second-degree burns, but was talking about the incident on Facebook later Saturday.
"I'm okay, at the hospital, but I'll be fine. Just some second degree burns," Garner posted at 1:58 a.m. Saturday.
In a second post, at 6:52 p.m. Saturday, Garner thanked supporters before saying the incident was "entirely preventable" if police had responded appropriately to a man "reported as a danger to himself and others by many people ...."
Moore's family, in their statement, thanked Jessie Anais Honore for organizing a GoFundMe page on Moore's behalf. The page, which had a goal of $6,300, has raised more than $27,000.
"The initial goal (of the fund) was to raise money to help pay for Alyssa's bills, therapy, the equipment she lost, and the time away from the public eye she needs to recover from this horrifying incident," the statement read.
"But because of your overwhelming support, part of this money will be used to help the community heal from this. Family and friends are working to organize resources for all who witnessed this, and will update with details as soon as they are available."