Three out-of-town spectators at an old-timey cowboy bang-bang demonstration in Hill City, S.D. were hospitalized on Friday night after being shot with either for-real bullets or maybe-blanks. Police aren't sure yet! They're still investigating. Please be patient.
Whatever the actors of the show were packing, "blood started spraying out everywhere," says witness and show videographer Phyllis Masten. "We are all trying to figure out how it happened, but we don't know." A police lieutenant tells Reuters that the victims' wounds were "consistent" with gunshot wounds, "but there were no bullets or fragments recovered." (Well, the NY Daily News says the bullets were real, so the cops should just go by what they say.) Two of the victims are still in the hospital in fair condition, and one has been released.
The show—a charity thing performed by "volunteer cowboys" who apparently load their own guns—is done for good, says the president of the local Chamber of Commerce. Yeah, that's probably wise—especially if this has happened before, as the trustworthy UK Daily Mail suggests:
Kyle Poulain, who went to Hill City School but now lives in Florida, wrote on KOTA TV's Facebook page that he had been shot in the head in 2002 at the show.
'They stopped it for a couple years then started it again,' Mr Poulain wrote.
'They said (my incident) was caused by an over packed blank,' he added.
If you go over to KOTA's Facebook page, you won't find Poulain's comment—at least if you're me, five minutes ago. Where did the comment go? Hmmmm. See, this kind of situation is why we don't live in a small town: Too many mysteries, and too many cowboy-related shootings. (Cowboys in general are still cool, though.)
In other cowboy bang-bang show news, no accidents have been reported at this weekend's Cowboy Mounted Shooting Show in Colorado—described by one of the organizers as "a fun competition with a lot of appeal as a spectator sport also."