TOMBSTONE, Ariz. (AP) — Two people were hit with bullets Sunday during a gunfight re-enactment in the Old West town of Tombstone that was supposed to involve blanks.
The shooting occurred Sunday afternoon as two actors in the Tombstone Vigilante group engaged in a standoff as they re-enacted an episode from the town made famous by Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday and the O.K. Corral. The Tombstone Marshal’s Office said one of the actor’s guns fired live rounds, hitting a fellow member of the group. Ken Curtis fell to the ground and was flown to a hospital in Tucson, where he underwent surgery to remove the bullet. Other rounds struck businesses and a bystander whose condition was not immediately known.
The marshal says authorities inspected the weapon and found one live round in the cylinder along with five casings that indicated the six-shooter was filled with live rounds prior to the skit. At least two of the live rounds struck nearby businesses, with one bullet hitting a female bystander.
Tombstone authorities called it an unprecedented event in the town. The Marshal’s Office says Mayor Dusty Escapule advised the Tombstone Vigilante group to put future gunfight skits on hold as the investigation plays out.
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“Tombstone takes pride in the safety and security of its townspeople and tourists alike and the citizens of Tombstone can be assured that stringent safety protocol will be enforced prior to allowing any further gunfight skits,” the Marshal’s Office said in a statement.
The Tombstone Vigilantes were formed in 1946 and are dedicated to preserving and passing along Tombstone’s rich history to the many tourists who come to the town near the U.S.-Mexico border about three hours from Phoenix. The group also performs mock hangings where unsuspecting victims are tried and convicted by the Tombstone Vigilantes.
Tombstone was once a bustling mining town in the 1800s that now has about 1,500 residents and mostly caters to visitors who come to see gunfight re-enactments and historical sites.
A message seeking more information about the shooting was not immediately returned.