Student dies after firing prop gun


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hexidismal
November 16, 2008, 10:02 PM
Source: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=666880

A 17-year-old student has died after firing a prop gun during rehearsals for a high school play.

Students from Desert Hills High School in the US state of Utah found Tucker Thayer’s body in the school theatre's sound booth on Saturday night, minutes before the musical Oklahoma! was due to begin.

A blank shooting pistol was found in Tucker’s hand.

Local police captain Bruce Graham said the gun was not loaded, according to Fox News.

"There were no bullets in the gun, but the gas in it has the same energy that a bullet does," he was quoted as saying.

Student Chase Leary said he heard the prop gun fire around 6.20pm as the audience filled the school theatre.

"All I heard was screaming, and someone saying call 911," he was quoted as saying.

Tucker, a stagehand for the play, was taken to a nearby hospital but died from head injuries at about 10pm.

Last month the school was put in lockdown for an hour after the same student was seen carrying a replica rifle from the play, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

The prop guns were supposed to arrive at the school under lock and key, with access restricted to students until they were needed for the show, according to police.

Police are still investigating Saturday's incident.


Interesting article, in that they don't explain in what way the prop gun had to do with his death exactly. Considering the "head injury" , one has to assume he put the blank gun to his own head and pulled the trigger ?

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gbran
November 16, 2008, 10:22 PM
I'd never heard them called "pop guns". I also suspect the gun was fired at close to skin contact distance.

scythefwd
November 16, 2008, 10:40 PM
I saw a neat little demo in Tombstone, AZ where they fired a blank into a gallon jug of water at point blank range. The jug pretty much exploded.

crushbup
November 16, 2008, 10:42 PM
He probably didn't understand the danger associated with it. He sees movies, and knows that they use blanks; he assumes that blanks can't harm people and screws around, resulting in his death.

k-frame
November 16, 2008, 10:47 PM
I'd never heard them called "pop guns".

"Prop" not "pop".

i.e. the gun was a prop in a play.

gbran
November 16, 2008, 10:49 PM
There was a story on THR several months ago about a fella who fired his new S&W 460 mag with one hand forward to steady the gun, when the escaping gasses of the cylinder gap cut off his thumb.

gbran
November 16, 2008, 10:50 PM
Yup, prop, not pop.......... must be gettin tired.

SoCalShooter
November 16, 2008, 10:50 PM
Something similar happened to that guy in THE CROW didnt it?

Z71
November 16, 2008, 11:37 PM
Been a couple of actors commit accidental suicide or got otherwise killed with blanks.

Thats too bad. Hard to say how such an issue could have been prevented, however manditory gun safty training in school might be a start. Lots of kids out there getting their gun knowledge off of the television. But even that might not prevent such stupidity.

Seems callous I suppose, but maybe the kids error saved someone else.

Dirty Dawg
November 17, 2008, 12:04 AM
Ok, just to show you how times have changed, when I was in High School we celebrated "Western Day" each year. On that day, everyone was encouraged to dress in their western finery and allowed to carry the (UNLOADED) firearm of their choice; revolver, shotgun, lever gun, you get the picture. Toward the end of the day, everyone met in the courtyard for a staged gunfight. Everything went well the first year, however, in my junior year, TWO guys were shot. One took a .41 in the chest from close range from a supposedly unloaded 44 pistol while in the cafeteria for lunch and the other was shot in the neck with a blank during the "mock" gunfight. I had no experience with blanks up to that point and had no idea how dangerous they could be, neither, it seems did any of the school administrators. Needless to say, my Senior year there were no guns allowed on Western Day. True...I swear.

Z71
November 17, 2008, 12:17 AM
We used to bring guns to school, then go hunting after school, sometimes the teachers would go along too.

Yes, times have changed.

kungfuhippie
November 17, 2008, 12:24 AM
Ok, just to show you how times have changed, when I was in High School we celebrated "Western Day" each year. On that day, everyone was encouraged to dress in their western finery and allowed to carry the (UNLOADED) firearm of their choice; revolver, shotgun, lever gun, you get the picture. Toward the end of the day, everyone met in the courtyard for a staged gunfight. Everything went well the first year, however, in my junior year, TWO guys were shot. One took a .41 in the chest from close range from a supposedly unloaded 44 pistol while in the cafeteria for lunch and the other was shot in the neck with a blank during the "mock" gunfight. I had no experience with blanks up to that point and had no idea how dangerous they could be, neither, it seems did any of the school administrators. Needless to say, my Senior year there were no guns allowed on Western Day. True...I swear.

That just sounded like a recipe for disaster before I got to the end. Kids are ignorant, they need to be taught. Too bad certain factions think the "guns are bad" approach works. Education, not fear is what is needed. I'm surprised they were allowed to have blank firing guns in the play. Or even wooden gun shaped props...

PTK
November 17, 2008, 12:27 AM
What Western movie actor did similar...? I seem to remember that one died in a similar event years back.

evan price
November 17, 2008, 01:00 AM
Jon-Erik Hexum shot himself in the head (Point-blank, right temple) with a .44 Magnum loaded with blanks on the set of the TV show Cover-up in 1984 iirc.

Brain death resulted from the wad blowing a section of his skull deep into his brain.

Typical last words "Hey, let's see if I've got one in here for me!" or something like that. Just an idiot screwing around with a gun. Tragic, really.

Brandon Lee died during filming of The Crow when a prop gun was loaded with ammunition that was supposed to look real (no powder, no primer) however one round somehow had a live primer in it which propelled a bullet into the barrel (squib). It was not noticed after the shot. Later, the same gun was loaded with charged blanks (no projectiles) for a massive shootout scene. The powder load from the blank propelled the squib bullet out of the barrel with enough force to kill Brandon Lee.

mbt2001
November 17, 2008, 09:27 AM
The prop guns were supposed to arrive at the school under lock and key, with access restricted to students until they were needed for the show, according to police.

Why have them there at all?? Why didn't the police volunteer to help with that kind of thing? "Hey, since there are going to be guns in school, even "prop" guns, we want to be there to make sure things are done properly, safely and correctly."

Virtually all the kids in that school are tainted now and more likely to believe "guns just go off and kill people" kind of malarky.

middleground
November 17, 2008, 09:36 AM
When I took my hunter safety course we saw what could happen with blanks.

Before the course started, everyone was sitting around talking. Without saying anything, the instructor put an empty soda can on the front table, and shot it point blank with a blank .22 round out of a very small revolver (maybe an naa??).

His point was well made. Even a small blank round, out of a small revolver, can still be very dangerous. It sure made an impression on us 12 year olds.

edSky
November 17, 2008, 10:01 AM
Remington sold (or still sells) a tool that uses different charged .22 cal. blanks to send nails into various masonry/concrete products. Anything that can blast a nail several inches into concrete can blow a chunk of bone into a brain, I'd imagine. That or severe trauma resulting in death.

bthest86
November 17, 2008, 10:27 AM
Yep, another kid who thought it would be funny to put a blank gun to his head and "shoot" himself.

It's incredible how many people do this.

Schofield3
November 17, 2008, 10:47 AM
Guess he wonít be doing that againÖ.

Basic gun safety Ė treat EVERY gun as though it were loaded -

Sean Dempsey
November 17, 2008, 11:03 AM
Guess he won’t be doing that again….

You mean because he's dead?

This happened about, oh, 1 mile from where I live I just realized.

Schofield3
November 17, 2008, 11:18 AM
Yes, I donít mean to come off as cold to this incident, but it just sickens me to see this, poor parenting. :fire: Nothing more - he shouldíve been taught early on to respect guns and treat them properly, paintball guns, bb guns, airsoft guns- all, and you see it far too often where a child has killed them self or another by misuse. And it seems to me that parents donít teach their children about firearm safety and then say golly geez I canít believe this happened! Letís blame the guns, those damn inanimate objects!

Sean Dempsey
November 17, 2008, 01:59 PM
Well, seeing as how the family is one of my neighbors, I'll ask them what their gun education was. The town is abuzz wondering what happened, and this is about as PRO GUN as a small Utah city can get. I'll keep this thread updated if I hear anything on the ground here.

rino451
November 17, 2008, 02:13 PM
And it seems to me that parents don’t teach their children about firearm safety and then say golly geez I can’t believe this happened!

I'd also suspect a lack of common sense training. Wouldn't you test it out on something else (door, desk, chair, book bag, soda, etc.) before putting it to one's head? Particularly at that age...:scrutiny:

Carlos Cabeza
November 17, 2008, 02:15 PM
Tragic, but kids are known to do things that needlessly endanger their lives, sometimes ending in death. Speaking from experience, I am fortunate to have made it through my teenage years. Accidents happen from time to time and no one knows when or where they will occur.

My condolences for this young man and his family...................

woodybrighton
November 17, 2008, 02:50 PM
leaving untrained youths with access to even blank ammo bad bad idea :(
not sure you need blanks for a stage show a cap gun would be just as good.
knew a movie armorer who worked on various things including band of brothers.
The extras were mostly ex or serving military or committed reenactors so could be trusted once he'd checked them out.
but the real actors keeping them alive full time job heads in front of barrels if a special effect did'nt go off immediately wandering over to have a look etc etc etc:uhoh: the 4 rules went in one ear and out the other.

PvtPyle
November 17, 2008, 05:20 PM
I will be on Ch 4 tonight speaking on this very subject. As a professional trainer and prop master there are two people to blame here.

FIRST and foremost the person responsible for this event is the kid who killed himself. I would be qurious to see what his comments were right before, his attitude and state of mind before in recent days was. Was he in a bad place or was he just emotionally immature and stupid?

And second, where was the gun owner? They should have had a trained and responsible person on site that was task only with minding the gun. A gun wrangler. The gun comes out for the scene and goes directly back to him when the scene is done. His sole mission in life is to watch the gun and what happens with it.

Of course blame can also be placed with the parents IF he never received proper training in firearms when he lives in a county where there are tons of firearms. There is plenty of blame to go around, but it starts and ends with him.

Sean, find out what you can about the kid and his mindset and let us know.

For the rest you can see how dangerous blanks can be when ch 4 posts the story on their web site. I took an AK blank and fired it at a piece of sheet rock from 18" and contact distance. The AK blank has about 15% more powder but it has a 16" barrel instead of the 4" or 6" the pistol has.

Schofield3
November 17, 2008, 09:59 PM
Sean,
My condolences to the family as well, itís such a shame to see a young person lose their life so needlessly; please do keep us informed as any new info comes alongÖ

Scho

A-190
November 17, 2008, 10:10 PM
Over twenty years ago a friend and fellow police officer was killed in a training accident with blanks. Tragic how he died. We trained a lot with .38 blanks in those days and a academy student shoved a revolver into his belly and fired the blank. Terry was gone before we got him to the hospital..........:uhoh:

jakemccoy
November 17, 2008, 11:22 PM
Blank is the wrong word. That's half the problem.

DaveBeal
November 17, 2008, 11:50 PM
This story brings back a memory from my high school days, 35 years ago. We were doing a production of "You Can't Take It With You". It has a scene in which a basement full of fireworks explodes offstage. We planned to do it by throwing firecrackers into a 55 gal drum in the wing, but a guy who was a city fireman and team trainer volunteered to let me use his .38Spl with a handful of blanks. I fired them by kneeling next to drum, holding the gun inside. Still foolish, though, since no one was wearing ear protection. I had no idea at the time that blanks could be so dangerous.

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