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The shocking death of a Bountiful man was witnessed by his former girlfriend hundreds of miles away today. Twenty-four-year-old Brent MacMillan died from a single, self-inflicted gun shot wound to the chest. His death was witnessed by his ex-girlfriend in California, who watched it via a webcam.
When you think of webcams, you think of them being used by soldiers overseas or during business conferences, not so people can witness a suicide. But this isn't an isolated case; it's happened several times before.
When police surrounded the Bountiful home following a call about a suicidal man, they thought things could turn out well.
Lt. Randy Pickett, with the Bountiful Police Department, said, "We had a negotiator present who tried to make contact with the person inside. He was able to do so they talk for a minute."
Not only did the negotiator talk to MacMillan, police say he agreed to give himself up and come out peacefully. Instead, "About two or three minutes later, the officers heard a shot," Pickett said.
MacMillan shot himself in the chest with a hunting rifle. The entire event was broadcast live on a web camera watched by his former girlfriend in California. "She saw what happened. She saw him shoot himself," Pickett said.
It's a disturbing use of technology, and it's not the first time it's happened. In Britian, 42-year-old Kevin Whitrick committed suicide by hanging himself in front of his webcam. A chatroom user alerted police. And in India, a dental student hung himself with his web camera focused on his body. In both cases, officials said there were signs leading up to the deaths.
In Bountiful police are still gathering information about MacMillan's state of mind but say he had recently broken up with his girlfriend, moved to Utah and was struggling to get on his feet.