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TWO DEATHS, NO JUSTICE
PAGE 3 OF 5

"With the racist venom spewed by white supremacists, it's not inconceivable that Brandon Lee was targeted for murder by a radical skinhead group."
     No one bothered to investigate after a supposedly inert dummy bullet produced an explosion strong enough to drive a bullet fully into the weapon's barrel. No one came forward after discovering that one of the six makeshift dummy bullets was missing its tip. Finally, no one apparently bothered to check the barrel for an obstruction before it was fired at Lee.
     "To have all of that happen calls for too much of a stretch of coincidence," says Forker. "It sounds to me like they're just thrashing around for an explanation."
     His conclusion?
     "It sounds like a live bullet got on the set," he says. "Why it got there I wouldn't want to speculate."
     There has been little speculation in the press on the possibility that Brandon Lee was murdered. Is it too much like a Hollywood plot to suggest that someone deliberately planned Lee's death by smuggling a live bullet onto the set and loading it into the handgun fired by actor Michael Massee? In an eerie and haunting coincidence, Bruce Lee played an actor who is severely wounded by a live bullet on a movie set in his final film, Game of Death, released in 1979. The bullet was substituted for a blank cartridge by a mobster intent on killing Lee's character.
     I would have been difficult but by no means impossible to have pulled off such a murder. On the evening of March 31, the set of The Crow on soundstage 4 was bustling with several dozen people -- actors, camera operators, lighting experts and various others needed to make a movie. In all of the well-orchestrated confusion that generally reigns on a movie set, there would have been moments when someone could have slipped a real bullet into the .44 magnum handgun that would later cut down Brandon Lee.
     Who would have noticed? The crew was understandably drained after 50 arduous days of filming. Fatigue was common because of the pressurized work schedule. With only eight days of filming left, crew members were straining to reach the finish line. Keeping a weather eye on one particular prop gun was not a top priority in a movie that featured several scenes of blazing automatic weapons fire.
     Perhaps detectives ruled out murder because they couldn't find a motive. But there are plenty of wackos, like Mark Chapman and John Hinckley Jr, for example, who don't need a rational reason to shoot someone in cold blood. Brandon Lee, after all, was the son of a Chinese martial arts legend who has been transformed into a demigod by tens of millions of devotees since his death in 1973. Those jealous of his father's still-vibrant cult following could have sought to tarnish the Lee name and cripple the bloodline by slaying Bruce's only son. Any lunatic with a grudge against the elder Lee might have wanted to harm Brandon and end his burgeoning film career.





Brandon Lee in The Crow.

     Another alternative is a racial motive. Brandon Lee was half-Chinese, and his role in The Crow was expected to be his big breakthrough. Could his death have been the result of irrational hatred spawned by rising anti-Asian sentiment? With the racist venom spewed by white supremacists, it's not inconceivable that Brandon Lee was targeted for murder by a radical skinhead group. As an example, the names of Rodney King and baseball star Darryl Strawberry were found on a "hit list" compiled by white supremacists arrested in July in Southern California. Could another such hit list exist for prominent Asian Americans?
     Although we may never know exactly how and why Brandon Lee was killed on soundstage 4 at Carolco Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina, the scenario apparently supported by the District Attorney's office evokes only a strong belief that the truth has not been vigorously pursued.

n October 17, 1992, Yoshihiro Hattori and Webb Haymaker were on their way to a Halloween party for Japanese exchange students in a quiet neighborhood in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Arriving at the home that they thought was the site of the party, they rang the doorbell and waited. Because the front lawn of the modest brick ranchstyle home was festively arrayed with Halloween decorations, they assumed that they had found the right place. When no one appeared to answer the door, they started back for the car in disappointment. PAGE 4

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