Stuntman's death: Police focus on use of blanks
DETECTIVES are investigating if handmade blanks were used in a shotgun that killed a Gold Coast stuntman while filming a music video in Brisbane.
Police have not ruled out criminal charges over the death of Johann Ofner, 28, who was killed while filming for Australian hip hop group Bliss N Eso.
The Courier-Mail has been told the crew was filming when he died at the Brooklyn Standard bar in Eagle Lane on Monday.
The stuntman was hit in the chest after the gun was fired at close range, understood to be about 1.5m away.
His girlfriend, Kati Garnett, took to Instagram to share pictures of the couple and honour the time they shared together.
Other friends gathered at a Burleigh Heads park where Mr Ofner used to train to pay tribute to the popular stuntman, who was affectionately known as "Yogi".
Police continued interviewing witnesses and associates yesterday as it emerged the armourer who provided weapons was on set.
Sources described the blanks as if someone opened up 12-gauge shells, emptied and filled them with powder and hand-closed them in the crimping stage when the shell is plugged.
A blank typically has the brass case or plastic shotgun shell sealed with a plug, called a wad, otherwise powder falls out.
Some blanks have no plug as the brass case itself is crimped.
Police sources said a full flash blank could cause harm within 1.8m without any projectile.
Police and workplace health and safety officers are expected to prepare a report for the coroner.
As part of the investigation, police must investigate if the blanks were handmade, or hand-crimped, the type of cartridge and the supplier.
Bliss N Eso issued a statement saying Mr Ofner was killed when the gun was discharged.
"The exact cause of Johann's fatal injury is still to be confirmed but as the gun was loaded with blanks, not live ammunition, the cause was not a bullet or live round," the statement said.
Supt Mick O'Dowd said police were treating the death as a major investigation.
"The details of cause of death, projectiles, weapons, firearms and ballistic reports again will take a little bit of time, but that will all form part of a report that will probably end up with the coroner," Supt O'Dowd said.
When asked if charges could be laid, Supt O'Dowd said police would have to continue their investigation before commenting further.
Mr Ofner had been set to star on reality series Australian Ninja Warrior on Channel 9.
"Nine and Endemol Shine are saddened and shocked by the sudden passing of Johann Ofner," a statement from the companies said.