No charges in shooting during Tombstone gunfight skit

AP News
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Posted: Mar 28, 2016 2:56 PM

TOMBSTONE, Ariz. (AP) — Arizona authorities say they won't prosecute an actor who shot and injured another performer during a mock gunfight in Tombstone.

A report from the Cochise County Attorney's office said evidence shows the shooting was accidental and that performers in Tombstone need better protocol for ammunition checks, according to the Sierra Vista Herald (http://bit.ly/1URmhhm).

Tom Carter and Ken Curtis were in a fake standoff on Oct. 18 when Carter fired a live round. The actors are members of the Tombstone Vigilantes, a group that puts on public re-enactments.

Curtis was struck in the groin. He has since recovered from his injury. Investigators said Carter had failed to go through a weapon's check before the skit and was carrying six live rounds in his gun, five of which were fired before the show was stopped. The bullets struck businesses and a bystander was grazed by a bullet fragment.

"The suspect and the other participants in these shows need a better protocol to check ammunition being used and to do so right before each show," Tombstone Marshal Bob Randall in a news release.

Tombstone has since passed a law requiring businesses to obtain permits to conduct shooting re-enactments. Immediately after the shooting, Mayor Dusty Escapule stopped all street shows but they resumed in January after the new regulations were passed.

City Attorney Randy Bays said the new ordinance is a balancing act between keeping people safe and honoring the city's tradition of putting on gunfights from the Old West.

"I believe this ordinance puts the least amount of restrictions necessary to protect the public from this extraordinary type of entertainment, which people come from all over the world to see," he said.

Some Tombstone residents said the new regulations are chasing business away.

"All the gunfight groups backed out of Wild West Days because of the ordinance, thus there were no gunfights last weekend," said Tombstone resident and business owner Mike Carrafa, who once owned a business that held gunfight shows. "Furthermore, anyone who can't tell the difference between a blank and a live round recoil has no business ever having a gun in his hand again," he added.

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Information from: Sierra Vista Herald, http://www.svherald.com