A robbery scene for a low-budget film was being shot in a Long Island convenience store when police intervened with their guns drawn. Earlier, a witness outside the store saw the actors with guns and called the police who were quick to react.
Luckily there were no casualties, but quite a few mistakes could have made things a lot worse. A policeman with his gun drawn ordered the actor to drop the gun several times; the actor’s reaction was to hold his hands up with the gun while insisting it’s just a movie, forcing the officer to disarm the man. The cop showed a lot of restraint from harming the actor, despite what the pseudo-robber was saying.
I have nothing against guerrilla filmmaking; I’ve done it myself; it does have its advantages, but under the right circumstances. Filming a scene guerrilla-style which involves guns is an entirely stupid idea; the aforementioned incident being an excellent example of why.
What the filmmakers should have done is get the permit to film in the store; inform the police station about the scene taking place, and that weapons will be involved. Usually a policeman will be on location to assure that there isn’t any misconceptions for any bystanders. It keeps everyone safe.
Hopefully other low-budget, independent productions pay attention to this incident and learn from it. If you’re going to shoot scenes involving weapons, approach it properly so you won’t endanger any lives.