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Actor Shot During Tombstone, Arizona, 'Old West' Gunfight Re-enactment

by Elisha Fieldstadt /  / Updated 

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An “Old West” gunfight re-enactment in Arizona ended with real casualties Sunday when one of the actors fired five live rounds from his gun instead of blanks, injuring another actor and a bystander.

Tom Carter and Ken Curtis, two actors with the group The Tombstone Vigilantes, were performing a show in Tombstone, Arizona, when Carter shot Curtis, who fell to the ground, according to a statement from the Tombstone Marshal’s Office.

Another bullet fired from Carter’s weapon “grazed” passerby Debbie Mitchell, said Carol A. Capas, a spokeswoman for the Cochise County Sheriff's Office. Capas told NBC News that Mitchell refused medical attention at the scene.

The show was “immediately stopped” after the bullets flew, and Carter’s weapon was taken from him, the marshal’s office statement said. Investigators determined he had shot five of six rounds loaded in the gun.

Actors perform "The Tragedy at the O.K. Corral" at the shootout site in Tombstone, Arizona, in 2011.
Actors perform "The Tragedy at the O.K. Corral" at the shootout site in Tombstone, Arizona, in 2011.Allen Breed / AP file

It is unclear if Carter was purposefully using a loaded gun, or whether he faces charges.

Curtis was flown to a University Medical Center in Tucson — about 70 miles from Tombstone — where he underwent surgery to have the bullet removed, the marshal's office said. Hospital spokeswoman Elyse Palm told NBC News that Curtis' condition was listed as “good” on Monday.

The marshal’s office statement said that Tombstone Mayor Dusty Escapule ordered the Tombstone Vigilantes not to perform gunfight skits “until it can be determined all weapons are safely loaded with blank ammunition as required.” The marshal’s office added that the incident was “unprecedented.”

The Tombstone Vigilantes group was founded in 1946 and performs gun skits and mock hangings in the former frontier town. All of their performers are volunteers, and donations raised during their shows are given to charity, according to the group’s website. The Tombstone Vigilantes did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

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