Stuntman accidentally shot dead while filming Hip Hop music video by illegally modified shotgun that misfired

A STUNTMAN was accidentally shot dead on the set of a Hip Hop music video by an illegally modified shotgun.

Johann Ofner was killed at close range by a “prop gun” that later was identified as a live, sawn-off, 12-gauge shotgun, an inquest in Brisbane has heard.

The dad was shot in the chest during filming in a Brisbane bar for a video for the group Bliss n Eso on January 23, 2017.

The inquest heard today that the sawn-off shotgun used in the video’s gunfight sequence was never test-fired before being used.

It was also claimed the production also failed to employ a safety supervisor or qualified first aid officer to ensure health and safety regulations were followed.

As well as the sawn-off shotgun the production also used at least eight firearms which included blank-fire weapons and replica automatic weapons which were incapable of discharging projectiles.

During a final dress rehearsal on the day of filming, actors and crew ran through the gunfight sequences but “without testing the firearms,” the inquest heard.

Ofner was wearing protective padding and a “jerk” vest allowing him to be hauled backwards once the shots were fired.

The weapon was loaded with homemade “blank” shotgun cartridges which had been made by an employee of a Brisbane gun shop.

Initially it was thought the scene had been a success until people realised Ofner had actually been shot and injured.

Frantic efforts were made to revive Ofner but he was later pronounced dead.

A projectile from the blank cartridge had penetrated his chest and lacerated his heart, a post-mortem revealed.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant John Fleming said armourer Warren Ritchie had been hired by production company Dreamers Creative Agency to supply the weapons.

Ritchie, now deceased, had been responsible for loading and unloading the firearms.

“The shortened shotgun was a live-fire, Category H weapon and should not have been brought on set,” Fleming said.


“There were a number of offences identified during the investigation… including the unlawful manufacture of the ammunition.

“Possibly there needs to be a more stringent overview of the industry – there did not appear to be any checks done to see that they were complying with legislation.”

Ritchie had bought the blank rounds for the shotgun more than 12 months earlier, Fleming said.

The rounds had been made by an employee of Brisbane firearm outlet On Target Sporting Arms which did not stock blank 12-gauge ammunition.

“They were packed by the employee and supplied to Mr Ritchie 12 months beforehand,” Fleming said.

“He was not licensed to manufacture ammunition.”

Manufacturer Adam Corless said he had made the blanks for Ritchie but for another production and did not know they were being used for the Bliss n Eso filming.

“I wouldn’t have made them,” Corless said. “It needs to be treated as though it is normal ammunition.”


Stunt coordinator Judd Wild, who worked on Mad Max: Fury Road, backed calls for a safety overhaul but said he believed the set was safe.

“If I thought there was any risk of him being struck by a projectile we wouldn’t have done the scene, full stop,” Wild said.

“If I knew anything would have been coming towards (Ofner) I would have said no.”

Coroner Donald MacKenzie will consider written submissions before issuing his findings.

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