Ronnie McNutt is a Mississippi man who died by suicide on August 31 and documented his death on Facebook Live. His death was confirmed by his church, the non-denominational Celebration Church in Tupelo, Mississippi, which posted a statement about his passing. The statement, posted on September 1, reads in part: “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 message adds that the “events surrounding his death were tragic” and said that he “will be missed by all who loved and knew him. He was very caring, committed, loyal, dependable, and eccentric.”
According to his obituary, McNutt was 33 years old, a resident of New Albany, Mississippi, and is survived by his mother and two siblings. Heavy reached out to the New Albany Police Department for more information but did not immediately hear back.
McNutt’s mother, Elaine McNutt, posted on Facebook about her son’s death and warned people that there are multiple fraudulent GoFundMe pages circulating. She said, “None of the ‘GoFundMe’ accounts for Ronnie are legitimate!!! Do not donate!!”
Many People Expressed Their Shock & Grief at His Suicide & the Video of the Event
Many of McNutt’s friends shared their grief at his death and the shock of the video, in which McNutt shot himself in the head. One friend wrote, “Please say a prayer right now for the family of Ronnie McNutt. He just killed himself live on FB and I cannot unsee this. What do you do? I happened to the last min get on FB before I went to sleep and I saw it. I tried but apparently it wasn’t quick enough to reach him. I wasn’t quick enough. Dear God I wish I could have gotten to him.”
Another said, “I got too late. I was watching it trying to figure out what was going on then I called our friend to get his address and he freaking shot himself in the head. In front of his mom. He was apparently reaching out for an hour. An hour. How could no one get to him?”
One of McNutt’s friends, Josh Steen, told Heavy that McNutt suffered from PTSD after serving in Iraq and that he seemed like a different person after leaving the military. He said: “I spent many a late night in our studio, via text message, and in person talking with him about life and his struggles.” Despite that, Steen said that it is his firm belief that “Ronnie McNutt did not start the live stream to commit suicide.” He said McNutt had often gone on Facebook Live to “ramble,” but in this case, he was “incredibly drunk, and that plus his recent relationship issues led to the end result.”
Steen said that throughout the Facebook Live, McNutt’s friends and family were trying different ways to reach him and had contacted the social media platform about the video as well as law enforcement. According to Steen, when McNutt killed himself, there were police officers and friends just outside his apartment.
Steen said, “I tried multiple times to call him, from my cell phone and our phone at the theatre; both numbers he would easily recognize. I watched him pick his phone up, think for a second, and then decline my calls.”
Many People Are Now Warning Others on Social Media About the Video Being Shared on TikTok & Other Platforms
McNutt’s death became a viral event after he streamed it on Facebook Live. Many people on TikTok are now warning others about the video, as people are sharing clips of McNutt’s suicide on the social media platform:
Is anyone else’s FYP full of videos warning people on TikTok of a graphic video going around? Said video seems to have gone around 4chan a few days ago and I guess has made its way to TikTok. I haven’t seen it on TikTok, but I’m seeing a flood of these types of warning videos. pic.twitter.com/hZPQQg1tXd
— julia alexander (@loudmouthjulia) September 7, 2020
Another person wrote a similar warning on Twitter: “IF YOU SEE THIS VIDEO ON YOUR TIKTOK FYP OR on twitter DO NOT WATCH IT please scroll it’s a man shooting his self in the head while on live stream the video is surfacing everywhere and I need y’all to understand that’s something to not watch.”
McNutt had posted twice on Facebook on the evening of his death, writing: “Sometimes life just takes turns that you don’t expect. But, at the end of the day you have to accept God’s sovereignty as what it is, and learn from the place that you are at.” Shortly after, he posted an image with the text: “Someone in your life needs to hear that they matter. That they are loved. That they have a future. Be the one to tell them.”
TikTok issued a statement on September 7 saying that it was working to take down all the videos of McNutt’s suicide and would be banning users that re-upload the clip (more on that here).
His Obituary Described Him as an Iraq War Veteran Who Enjoyed Performing in Theater Plays
According to McNutt’s obituary, he died on August 31 at home in New Albany, Mississippi. He was born Ronald “Ronnie” Merle McNutt on May 23, 1987, and “enjoyed and performed theater plays” and was a Comic-Con club member. The obituary states that he was working at the Toyota plant in Blue Springs at the time of his death and he was a veteran of the United States Army Reserve, having served in the Iraq War. His Facebook page indicates that he was a former account manager at GardaWorld, a position he held until October 2019.
McNutt had recently posted on Facebook about his church, hosting watch parties of the Celebration Church’s services and posting on August 12: “A church that preaches the exclusion of anyone from grace for any reason (race, marital status, sexuality, gender identity, past deeds, addictions, etc) is no Church at all.”
McNutt’s parents were Cecil Ronald McNutt, who died in 2019, and Elaine McNutt. A video of McNutt speaking at his father’s funeral has been circulating since his death. He is survived by his brother Joey and sister Mindy as well as “a host of other family and friends.”
On August 14, McNutt shared on Facebook that it would have been his father’s 69th birthday that year. He wrote, “He was a powerhouse of a man. And I miss him every day. Our family just isn’t complete without him.”
McNutt Was Described by a Friend as Having an Incredible Work Ethic & Dedicated Himself to Everything He Set His Mind To
In an interview with Heavy, McNutt’s friend Josh Steen described McNutt as being “an amazingly fun guy. Everyone loved him,” Steen said. “He had an incredible work ethic, and was very intense.” The two met in the early 2000s at a community theater where they worked on “Footloose: The Musical.” Steen said McNutt was passionate about theater and did everything he could to make the show a success, including volunteering to clean up the theater after it was damaged by flooding.
Steen started JustUs Geeks in 2012, a website and podcast dedicated to “news and discussion of all things Geek and Pop Culture,” according to its Facebook page. Steen said McNutt was their number one fan and would post video reviews and reactions to their podcasts as well as write articles for the website. Steen was clear that McNutt’s support was essential to JustUs Geeks’ success: “I can unequivocally say that without his encouragement, his hard work, and determination to not let us fail even when things got a little rough, without him our content would have stopped a long long time ago.”
Steen said that, like many others, he would remember McNutt as being an intense person, who would dedicate himself completely to “something, some cause or someone” and that he would always put others first, giving everything he had to others before himself. Steen continued:
One dark moment shouldn’t define your life, and Ronnie left a beautiful digital trail of his, with encouraging videos, podcasts, and words of hope to geeks, normal people, and those struggling to just belong or exist. He was an encouraging source of joy to me, and that’s how I’ll always choose to remember him. I’ve had a lot of people say to me, ‘Man, I wish I could’ve gotten to know this guy.’ I wish they could’ve too.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can also speak with a trained crisis counselor 24/7 by texting HOME to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line. Another options is NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), which you can reach by calling 1-800-950-6264 or texting NAMI to 741741.