Country Singer Justin Carter Killed When ‘Prop’ Gun Fired While Loaded With a Live Round

Justin Carter Shot Dead

Courtesy Fox News

From Fox News:

Up-and-coming country singer Justin Carter has died after a gun accidentally fired while he was filming a music video. He was 35.

Carters’ mother, Cindy McClellan, told Fox News her son was filming a music video in Houston, Texas, on Saturday when a gun in his pocket “went off and caught my son in the corner of his eye.”

Other reports describe the gun as a prop.

If that’s accurate, it’s difficult to understand how something like this could have happened on the set of a music video. Gun wranglers on movie sets are usually scrupulously careful to ensure the area is “sterile”…absolutely clear of any live ammunition.


  1. avatar Specialist38 says:

    Sad. I am sorry for his family.

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      What kind of Justin Carter music video needed a prop gun? Is there a video of it?

      “… Drunk as hell but no throwing up
      Half way home and my pager still blowing up
      Today I didn’t even have to use my A.K.
      I got to say it was a good day…”

      1. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

        …”I even saw the lights on Goodyear Blimp and it read “ICE CUBE’s A PIMP!”

  2. avatar Geoff PR says:

    “Gun wranglers on movie sets are usually scrupulously careful to ensure the area is “sterile”…absolutely clear of any live ammunition.”

    Eh, until a blank mixes with a projectile lodged in a barrel, you mean?

    It’s Brandon Lee, all over again?

    EDIT – *PLEASE* kill the auto-start video…

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      Lee was killed by the wadding of a blank round, not a live round, as I understand the case, fired point blank into his temple.

        1. avatar mlk18 says:

          Not weighing in on the the issue, just pointing out that quoting Wikipedia is like quoting CNN, drop of truth floating in a lake of liberal BS.

        2. avatar old geezer says:

          Yeah anyone can edit wikipedia pages. Its ok, you were probably born in 1920 and believe everything you read on ‘the net’.

      1. avatar Hannibal says:

        No, he died by being shot by another actor using a blank- the gun had previously been loaded with dummy rounds. One of the dummy rounds remained in the action and was propelled by the blank to lethal speeds.

      2. avatar Iron Cat Beast says:

        You’re thinking of Jon-Erik Hexum.

        Brandon’s death was apparently due to the weapon wrangler dumping the powder from live rounds to use as dummy cartridges. The fired primer pushed out a bullet into the barrel and it wasn’t inspected between takes, so when they loaded in blanks, it fired that lodged-in bullet and pierced Brandon’s spine.

        1. avatar LaryinTX says:

          This guy is a pro? I knew better than that in 1970.

        2. avatar Iron Cat Beast says:

          LaryinTX: The guy apparently wasn’t a professional weapons wrangler, but the producers were shooting on the cheap and picked someone who wasn’t qualified for the job (and very obviously, in hindsight) .

        3. avatar Jean-Claude says:

          That was a weird case. Instead of using actual dummy rounds with fake primers, the prop department simply dumped powder from real cartridges, and somehow the hammer got dropped on a primed round. The primer had enough energy to force the bullet into the barrel, in effect a squib round.

          When the poor actor who handled the 29 with blanks pulled the trigger, the blank pushed the stuck bullet the rest of the way out, killing Brandon Lee.

          It’s a shame. Brandon Lee had a bright future in front of him, and was, by all accounts, a heck of a nice guy.

      3. avatar OBOB says:

        I am in the ‘biz’ and we studied this one at length

        he was killed by a made up blank and not a TRUE blank

        this is how it happened and thank me later for all this typing!

        on set a prop guy was making ‘beauty rnds’ ones that look like REAL ammo by cheating, he took the bullets off LIVE rnds and fired off the blanks…then reset the bullet on the empty fired rnd.
        he got interrupted by the CHEAP producer to do one of the many tasks that he had to do instead of that ONE very important job
        when he got back he re-seated the rnd on top of an unfired primer minus the powder charge and set out the rnds for tomorrows use..
        the next day they used the gun with the ‘beauty rnds to show a gun pointing at camera and revolving the cylinder to fire…the primer fired and pushed the bullet down the barrel an inch or so…no one noticed that…
        next day of so…they loaded the gun with full power blanks…never checked the barrel for obstructions and fired RIGHT AT the actor (NOT AWAY OR TO THE SIDE, AS YOU SHOULD AT ALL TIMES!!!)
        actor hit with full power bullet===dead!

        1. avatar No one of consequence says:

          Thank you!

        2. avatar NM says:

          I will thank you for that…

          THANKS! 🙂

        3. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          This isn’t the first time. You’d think the star would double check the gun. I’m still a newbie, but no way am I going to let anyone goof around with “blank” near me.

      4. avatar Defens says:

        Perhaps you’re thinking off the actor, Pete Duel – who was playing around and shot himself in the head with a blank.

        1. avatar Sven79 says:

          No, Pete Duel committed suicide with a real gun in ’71.

          You’re thinking of John Erik Hexum, the model/wannabe-actor who put a .44 blank gun to his temple, and then pulled the trigger. Hexum died in mid-October, 1984, and more than a few people made not-so-tasteful, but very cheap and quite topical Halloween costumes by dressing up fashionably, and then putting a big Red splotch on one side of their head.

        2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          “Alias Smith and Jones”. One of the last TV westerns. And a favorite of mine.

      5. avatar Kenneth says:

        This was the guy you’re thinking of that died of a self inflicted blank round on set.
        The only reason the wadding killed him is that he placed the muzzle directly against his skull. The wad had no time to slow down.
        Even at that, the wadding didn’t penetrate. But it had enough energy to knock a quarter sized chunk of his skull loose and drive it clear through to the other side of his skull. I’m guessing, but there probably wasn’t much brain matter in the way to stop it. His last words were; “Hey look! Russian Roulette!”.
        This is up with; “Hand me a match. I think this gas tank is empty.”, for famously stupid last words. 🙂

    2. avatar Garrison Hall says:

      Just sayin’, but why the hell didn’t he check to see if the gun he was carrying was really a prop and really didn’t have a live round in it. I never fully trust that a gun is “unloaded” just because someone, official “gun wranger” or not, tells me its unloaded.

    3. avatar raptor jesus says:

      browse with Firefox – you’ll never see an ad or an autostart video ever again.

      1. avatar Geoff PR says:

        “browse with Firefox – you’ll never see an ad or an autostart video ever again.”

        I’m using Firefox Qantum 66.0.1

        1. avatar Matt(TX) says:

          Brave Browser.

  3. avatar MB says:

    Guns don’t just “go off” on their own. How the F do you shoot yourself in the eye with a gun in your pocket? No holdster? From what I heard, this was suppose to be a “prop gun”, ( did somebody replace it with real gun? ) a momentary lapse in judgement sounds like most likely cause. Others have been killed by prop guns loaded with blanks, case in point, Jon-Erik Hexum put a prop 44 magnum gun loaded with blanks to his temple in pulled the trigger, the concussion shattered his skull and he died. Sad, but both of these “accidents” were preventable if the 4 rules of gun safety were applied.

    1. avatar Marty says:

      He put a 44 loaded with blanks to his head and pulled the trigger? Even had it been real blanks, he would have died anyway.

      1. avatar Hoyden says:

        Who was the actor in the 80’s who died playing Russian Roulette with a blank’d revolver?

        Show was about a modeling agency/spy agency.

        The blank’s wad crushed in his skull about the size of a quarter.

        1. avatar I smoke potlatch! says:

          You are thinking of John-Erik Hexum, as noted above. He was not playing Russian Roulette.

          Good cautionary tale about the need to be careful around blanks, they are much more dangerous than most people realize.

        2. avatar Iron Cat Beast says:

          You’re thinking of this guy here:

          Poor dude apparently was conscious just long enough afterward to realize he’d fucked up, too.

      2. avatar MB says:

        @marty, It was loaded with “real blanks” Well one real blank, Hexum removed the other 5, blew a hole in his skull imitating “Russian roulette”… that’s why he’s dead.

  4. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “Country Singer Justin Carter Killed When ‘Prop’ Gun Fired While Loaded With a Live Round”

    This is NOT the first time something like this has happened…
    What I’d like to know, HOW is it possible to load a “live” round into a “prop” gun…???
    Additionally, WHO is responsible for this “accident”…???

    Seems to me that someone needs to go to jail, if for no other reason, negligent homicide…

    1. avatar barnbwt says:

      Or suicide.

    2. avatar Mark N. says:

      Generally, prop guns will not chamber a live round. However, even blanks can kill.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        Even if they do chamber a live round, prop guns have no firing pin.

        1. avatar Mark N. says:

          The ones that expend spent casings (i.e. semiauto and full auto firearms) are fully functional, but the blanks and the barrel are of a nonstandard caliber to prevent an accidental insertion of a live round. I am vague on the details now, but I read that, for example, a 9 mm will actually have an 8mm barrel.

    3. avatar LarryinTX says:

      As usual, demonstrating Hollywood types are morons.

      1. avatar Kenneth says:

        On top of which, he was a male model. From New Jersey.
        Three strikes and… you’re out. Permanently. At least he didn’t live long enough to pass on those defective genes.

  5. avatar JohnO says:

    The singer relied on others to tell him the gun was safe. ALWAYS check the gun when it is handed to you people. ALWAYS.

    Such a preventable ND! SMH


  6. avatar Marty says:

    Hoyden, right on!

  7. avatar Matthew says:

    Everyone wondering how a prop matter missed this: this was a music video being filmed in his own apartment.

    1. avatar B-Rad says:

      So by “budding music star” it meant, a guy on the internet.

      1. avatar Marty says:

        Now a days, I think that’s how most of them get started. I have never heard his music, but that doesn’t mean he wouldn’t have become the next George Straight. Don’t be so critical.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        First thing occurred to me: Who the hell is that? Don’t need to be famous to be an idiot.

  8. avatar OBOB says:

    “”””If that’s accurate, it’s difficult to understand how something like this could have happened on the set of a music video. Gun wranglers on movie sets are usually scrupulously careful to ensure the area is “sterile”…absolutely clear of any live ammunition.”””

    ahhh I have worked in the ‘BIZ’ for 30 years and ALL the ‘music videos’ I was part of were done on the CHEAP…VERY FREAKING CHEAP! and not pro in anyway near a REAL union done film…..
    Read into that with ‘the crow’ and how that poor kid got killed by a cheap movie producer!

    ohh and a ‘prop’ on set, in ‘slang’ is anything, repeat ANYTHING That an actor can move is a ‘prop’….so ‘prop’ does not mean FAKE in any terms!

  9. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

    So did he have something like a little j frame sitting upside down in his pocket?

    1. avatar Kenneth says:

      Not unless it was already cocked beforehand. No DA revolver will go off when a thread touches the trigger. Ten will get you twenty it was a striker fired glock or clone.

      1. avatar Buff cousin Elroy says:

        Sure, makes sense to me. He must have been dancing around with it in his pants or maybe a coat pocket, I dunno. It’s sad man, could have been avoided easily…

        1. avatar rt66paul says:

          Trained FBI special agents have been known to do dance moves where they lose their gun – it could happen to anyone…….

  10. avatar Hannibal says:


    Even a blank gun should never be pointed at someone. Anyone with training, knowledge and experience in the area would use film angles to make it appear as though the gun is being aimed at someone but, for safety’s sake, aim it to the left or right. Because shit happens. It’s happened multiple times before.

    But I’m drawing a blank (oof) on how a gun in a pocket just went off and hit someone in the eye. I’m wondering if a story is being made up to try and cover up negligence.

  11. avatar CNS says:

    Things I’m wondering:

    #1. Did he have a holster for the gun in his pocket (I’m guess no)

    #2. How on earth do you shoot yourself in the eye with a gun in your pocket? Even without a holster, the gun should be facing down.

  12. avatar jwm says:

    If it will save just one life the entertainment industry must be banned from using any type of firearm, even rubber dummy weapons. Never again.

  13. avatar ai338 says:

    Sounds like a suicide is being downplayed as something else.

  14. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    If it were truly a prop gun, it would be incapable of firing a live round. There’s a difference.

  15. avatar James W Crawford says:

    Just think of it as evolution in action.

    He culled the gene pool and purged the voter registration rolls of yet another useless idiot..

  16. avatar Joseph Constable says:

    I think someone shot him. Then they made up a story about it. Guns in pockets don’t shoot you in the eye.

  17. avatar former water walker says:

    Oh well…when I was a lad of mebbe 11 my older brother SHOT me in the face with a 22 blank. I could have been blinded.I was “ok”. Never told my dad. But this idiot wasn’t 11😩

  18. avatar Larry says:

    I worked as the gun guy on a low budget movie, not only blanks, but the barrel had a restriction down to the size of a BB.

    Guns are seldom pointed at anyone other then camera guys while filming , mostly because no one is there . Cop reads all his line into camera , then maybe next day , bad guy reads all his ,then it’s edited to look like a conversation took place .

  19. avatar James69 says:

    Life Insurance / Suicide / Baby Mama drama………

  20. avatar Nathan Shifflette says:

    I work in movies and tv. Firearms and fake ammo are supposed to be inspected by the 1st Assistant Director before they are brought onto set of given to actors. Fake ammo has a ball bearing in it. The 1st AD is supposed to shake each round to make sure

  21. avatar Larry says:

    Oh and pockets aren’t just in pants ….

    Pull a hoodie off overhead with a gun in its pocket and it sure would be near the eye at one point .

  22. avatar enuf says:

    Sorry for his famiiy and friends who must be hurting something awful.

    That said, people getting shot by accident are incredibly rare, especially when it is their own gun. An accident to my thinking is unavoidable. Something breaks, doesn’t work as it is supposed to, a string of random events results in a truly unpredictable outcome. Those are accidents.

    People shooting themselves is typically an act of inattention or foolish behavior with a gun or incompetence in handling guns and ammunition. Typically the gun did exactly what it was supposed to do.

    The human is what goes wrong with these things.

  23. avatar Billy Bob says:

    I dont understand how this could have happened. I dont know if this was criminal negligence, simple stupidity or something evil. The person responsible must be identified. At the very least the public needs to be protected from their criminality or stupidity.

  24. avatar MLee says:

    It wasn’t a prop gun, I can almost guarantee that. I have been shot in the head twice on TV and stabbed. It’s all CG. The guns for screen use are very carefully monitored.

  25. avatar rt66paul says:

    I worked as an extra for a time in 2004. Even though the production assistant told the guy they dressed as a cop not to take the pistol out of his holster, just having it while we were waiting to be called was too much for him to handle. He was playing with the handgun – looked real to me – and then another extra came over and told him he would never work again if they caught him messing with it. That was enough for him to put in back in the holster.

  26. avatar David Zimmerman says:

    Please Danny, gun wranglers??? Are they like bomb dogs? Let’s blame it on “liberals in the entertainment business” fault for not sweeping the set of a music video instead of an accidental death due to either incompetence, ignorance or both. I’m sure he legally possessed the gun, so it’s nobody’s fault

  27. avatar possum says:

    Well since gunms can become Violent, I’d say the gunm didn’t like his music.

  28. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    Most likely he had his own loaded gun in his pocket and the trigger got pulled while he was moving around.

    Not enough details so just a guess, but doubtful a prop gun would blow his head off.

    Another reason for Israeli style carry if youre gonna pocket carry or Mexican holster your piece.

  29. avatar raptor jesus says:

    Guns don’t accidentally go off.

    Someone didn’t follow the 4 rules.

    My sympathies to his family.

  30. avatar TomC says:

    So if we believe anything on TTAG, there was a prop gun for a music video, AND it was in his pocket, AND it was loaded with a live around, AND it just went off all by itself with no one manipulating it.

    My guess is that TTAG is no better than one out of four on that.

  31. avatar Pocketgunner says:

    The Big internet fad for a long time has been Light striker fired guns, with short resets. Yes, 10-1 it was one of these that have become such a fad. I bought one, but finally said no way. Started shooting DAO on all my EDC guns and never looked back. Over the years have read about or known folks that have had way too many similar accidents. Seems people just cannot figure this out.

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