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Too Many Unexplained Happenings and Unanswered Questions Surround Brandon Lee's Mysterious DeathPeter Paton for Salem-News.com
Exclusive story into the death of American actor Brandon Lee in Wilmington, North Carolina on March 31, 1993 in the interests of natural justice.
(LONDON) - On March 31, 1993, during the filming of The Crow on set in Wilmington, North Carolina, Brandon Lee was shot with a live round, .44 calibre bullet from a Magnum disturbingly dubbed "Funboy".
It was three takes into the scene where Lee was to walk in on his fiancée being sexually assaulted by street psychopaths. Actor Michael Massee in the role of the chief punk 'Funboy', was to point the weapon in the direction but not directly at Brandon Lee. The magnum was to be aimed at an angle that only appears to be pointed at an intended screen victim. This is standard practise in proper film production, that everyone on the set handling weapons are to explicitly treat blanks as live rounds.
Corroborated by Wilmington Police reports, Massee had whirled the Magnum about wildly overhead, then leveling the gun at Brandon and firing. Brandon was hit in his abdomen 3 inches to the lateral right of his navel and went down bleeding profusely from major, irreparable internal damage. He immediately fell into unconsciousness and was dead three minutes afterwards.
Despite arriving at the New Hanover Regional Medical Center D.O.A., doctors worked to attempt resuscitation for over 5 hours. An oddity that I find of note, why work on someone who is literally dead for that amount of time? Unless, perhaps, Brandon wasn't actually dead on arrival as reported.
Brandon Lee, son of the famed martial arts star, Bruce Lee, was shot and killed during the making of his breakout film, “The Crow.” Although his death was deemed “accidental,” many other speculations have arisen.
What if his death was not an accident, but murder?
There were many similarities between both Bruce and Brandon Lee’s death, leaving open the possibility of conspiracy.
Two major theories lend hand to the thought of foul play.
The Chinese Mafia theory and the Triads theory hold credence through evidence and their links to Bruce and Brandon. Other theories have been considered and prove possible as well.
Too many “coincidences” occurred on set and during the investigation, to state that his death was an accident. With all the evidence collected from both deaths, the possibility that both were merely fatal accidents, can be ruled out, and replaced with the fact that they were meticulously planned murders.
Bruce Lee, martial arts star, is pronounced dead on July 20th, 1973. He is rushed to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital but is dead before arrival. All the details of his death remain unclear and somewhat covered up.
Lee and film producer, Raymond Chow, met at Lee’s home to discuss the making of Lee’s film, “Game of Death.” They worked for about two hours before heading to Betty Tingpei’s (lead actress in the film) house. The three went over the script and soon after, Chow left.
Lee began to complain of a headache and Tingpei gave him a tablet of Equagesuc (a super aspirin), which was prescribed for her.
Around 9:00 pm Chow called Tingpei’s to ask why she and Lee never showed up for dinner as planned. Tingpei told Chow that she could not wake Lee. He could not be revived and later died of, what doctors concluded as, an edema (swelling of the brain).
Why hadn’t Tingpei woken Lee earlier to meet for dinner as planned? And if she tried to, and she could not, why did she not immediately phone the police? Most of all, why would she give Lee something not prescribed for him?
These questions and many others make Bruce Lee’s death look less like an accident and more like murder.
On March 30th, 1993, in Wilmington, North Carolina a tragedy occurred. Brandon Lee prepares to complete what is to be the last night of scenes that involve weapons. After this night, there are only eight more nights of shooting before “The Crow” is complete.
Brandon speaks to his mother on the phone. After indicating his joy in this being the final night of weapons scenes, he ends the conversation and heads to the set.
The scene in which Eric Draven walks in on his beloved Shelly being raped is to be shot. Michael Massee (FunBoy) is handed the pistol, which he is to point and fire at Brandon (Eric Draven) as we walks into the room. Alex Proyas calls for “quiet” and then “action”.
Brandon walks in, Michael Massee pulls the trigger, Brandon falls to the ground and Alex Proyas calls “cut”. Everyone relaxes and starts moving around. Brandon, however, is still on the ground. Known for his practical jokes, Brandon is thought to be extending the scene. However, it becomes apparent that this is no joke and tragedy has just occurred. They find him profusely bleeding from his abdomen and ambulance is immediately called.
It is said that the Chinese Mafia killed Bruce Lee as a punishment for exposing many martial arts secrets (known in the U.S. as karate). They had warned Bruce Lee over and over about exposing karate. He was the first to do work of this kind, but the more popular he became, the more movies he made, the bigger the audience, and more karate on film, especially in the American market.
After his death (which was shrouded in mystery), his son Brandon Lee came onto the scene. As the son of the foremost martial artist ever known, he picked up where up where his father left off. It however was much quicker that he met his demise, allegedly at the hands of the same Chinese Mafia, again shrouded in mystery.
The Triads, a group of organized criminals with ties to the entertainment industry in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan, China, are top suspects in the murder of both Bruce and Brandon Lee. The Triads were angry with Bruce Lee for refusing to work in their movies, and in turn, held a grudge against his son, Brandon.
The fact that the Triads had ties with the entertainment industry, only begs more questions. Was Brandon’s murder an inside job? The answer is simply yes, but the explanation is far more complex. The precautions taken away that day may give thought to the theory of foul play. No one thought to give Brandon a protective vest or to have actor, Michael Massee (FunBoy), aim the weapon away from him (a common and necessary procedure for close-up shots within twenty feet of an actor).
The weapons supervisor was also sent home that day. On the day of a close-up shot, involving weapons and a squib (explosive device), all precautions should be taken. Sending the weapons supervisor home was an unwise and idiotic mistake. Having the weapons supervisor leave, endangers all the actors and the crew. Michael Massee shot directly at Brandon, with no vest on.
There was also a squib set off on his arm, in a grocery bag, a very dangerous stunt, and yet still no weapons supervisor was present.
For such a dangerous shot, no one in his or her right mind would take away such a safety net. These incidents only further prove the Triads involvement in Brandon’s death. Being connected to the film industry made the set easily accessible for the Triads. Also, Brandon’s murder occurred on the last night of shooting with weapons.
Anyone with any sense knew it was that day or never. The Triads carefully planned this day, or tried previous days, failed, and knew this was their last chance. They stood to gain something from the movie, “The Crow.” Brandon was murdered only eight days before filming ended, leaving only a few scenes to be shot.
Having very little left to shoot, the movie could be completed by a double. The timing of his death was too easy to work around. It was planned, it was murder, and the theory of the Triads involvement is highly likely.
Although both theories, the Chinese Mafia and The Triads, are highly likely, many others are speculated and possible. Brandon Lee, being son of famed Chinese martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, left him enemy to many.
Those who were jealous of his father’s presence, even after death, sought to tarnish the Lee name and to end the bloodline by eliminating his only son. Any person with a grudge against Bruce Lee could’ve wanted to harm Brandon, his film career, and to end his life.
There were many strange happenings on the set before Brandon was fatally shot and some eerie coincidences. First of all, the scene in which Brandon died in real life was also supposed to be the scene in which Eric Draven, his character, is brutally murdered. Another movie was being filmed at the same time as “The Crow,” called “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.”
This movie was to document Brandon’s father’s works. Both of the sets were over run with strange incidents. The first day of shooting “The Crow,“ a worker touched a high-voltage wire and was electrocuted on a studio back lot. An upset employee ran his car through the studio’s plaster shop.
A construction worker slipped causing a screwdriver to go through his hand. The weather was also very uncooperative. It caused damage to some of the sets. One of “The Crow’s” publicists was injured in a minor car accident. A drive-by shooting took place just a few streets away from one of “The Crow’s” locations.
Due to all the strange occurrences the case was supposed to remain open. Also, the medical examiner who was said to have performed Brandon Lee’s autopsy, and who went on record to say he had preformed it, had in fact not even been present at the time. He signed the autopsy report as well, yet he did not perform it.
It is still unknown why he would lie and sign off on the autopsy, as if he’d done it himself. To add to the possibility of murder, on the set of “The Crow,” the night of his death, it was bustling with several dozen people.
The list includes actors, camera operators, lighting experts, producers, directors and numerous other employees. With that many people on set, tired from fifty straight days of shooting, who would have kept their eye on the handgun that ended Brandon Lee’s life? With only eight days left of filming the crew just strained to reach the end.
With all that confusion, who would have worried about the gun? No one, and it could have easily been taken and loaded with real bullets. Too many coincidences occurred to deem his death as accidental.
Although Bruce and Brandon Lee’s deaths occurred some twenty years apart, many connections link the two. Both died while in the process of making a film.
Both of their deaths brought suspicions of conspiracy. Also, in Bruce Lee’s final film, “Game of Death,” he played an actor, who is severely wounded by a live bullet on set, exactly how his son was fatally shot. There were many opportunities to kill both Bruce and Brandon, and both deaths could have been made to look like accidents.
The “accidental” deaths of two actors, while filming movies, in the same bloodline, are highly unlikely. All evidence points to only one theory, and to the truth, Bruce and Brandon Lee were conspired against, and both were murdered.
Through thorough investigation and review of evidence, one can easily conclude that Brandon Lee’s death was no accident. The connections with his father’s (Bruce Lee) death are uncanny. Too many theories completely disprove their deaths as accidents.
All necessary safety precautions that were removed that fatal day, for such a dangerous shot, were reckless, yet carefully mapped out. This lack of precaution ended young Brandon’s life.
No one would put himself or herself in a position to be sued for reckless endangerment, unless they had a motive or a hidden agenda. Also, the chances of a father and a son, both actors, being “accidentally” killed, while filming a movie, are less than likely. In summation, Brandon Lee’s death is connected to his fathers, and both were murdered, but the killer has long since covered his tracks.
So what we have is a live .44 calibre round placed into a Magnum, that wasn't supposed to be, aimed directly at Lee and fired, killing him. A police investigation throttled from on high of a contaminated crime scene and District Attorney Jerry Spivey labeling the crime near immediately as an accident.
There were three separate film takes of the scene where Brandon Lee was murdered, and the 'Funboy' Magnum was fired twice successfully, before the fatal round. The evidential implication is that the gun DID NOT have a dummy bullet accidentally lodged in the chamber as the official story contends.
For if it was it would have most assuredly have been flung out while Massee was waving it wildly about, or have been dislodged when fired during the previous two takes.
What this clearly does indicate is that a live round was deliberately inserted into the handgun calculatingly and with malice aforethought. Or perhaps a replica of the 'Funboy' Magnum was swapped in and handed to Massey during the third take? That would clearly implicate the gun prop handlers Bruce Merlin, Charlene Hamer or Daniel Kuttner.
A North Carolina Hanover County deputy reported one alarming fact, that was never followed up on. An unidentified Asian-American extra, was on the set and positioned himself with the gun prop team, by expressing his love for guns and obsession with the martial arts film genre.
He volunteered to clean the set weapons and expressed that he had traveled from New York City expressly to come down for the filming of "The Crow". The extra was never formerly questioned, nor his true identity discovered as suspiciously the Crowvision Inc. movie company time sheets were found to be conveniently missing.
Also, the mysterious Asian-American person of interest left the film set after Lee's shooting and never returned. One piece of evidence that would depict exactly what happened would be the actual film footage of the Lee shooting.
Unfortunately that is not possible due to District Attorney Jerry Spivey ordering all evidence sealed, and the judge in Linda Lee Cadwell's (Brandon's mother) subsequent lawsuit ordered all the video footage destroyed.
Also see this article from Peter Paton.
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