This article is from the rec.arts.movies.past-films FAQ, by Evelyn C. Leeper email@example.com with numerous contributions by others.
According to Raymond Johnston (firstname.lastname@example.org):
The same gun was used earlier, a week or so earlier, and since it
was a revolver, they needed for it to look loaded. The prop guy
emptied the gunpowder out of some bullets and loaded the gun. During
that scene, a second unit scene, a bullet head got stuck in the barrel
and nobody noticed. It remained stuck for a week, then they had to
have a scene where blanks were fired to make noise and a flash. The
gunpowder of the blank shot out the jammed bullet head, and it hit
Lee. People on the set thought he was acting and kept the camera
rolling. He never recovered. The gun was not actually technically
loaded, but Lee was hit with a bullet full force.
That part of the scene is not used, but some things filmed that day are
used. The scene where the gang kills Lee and his wife is the scene
involved. The film includes up to a gang member pointing the gun at
Lee. Some of this scene then used a double filmed from the back. In
the film, he then falls out of a window, this was to not recreate the
or use a scene of Lee being shot. The film was almost completed. Only
a few flashbacks remained to be shot. In the Crow, the flashbacks are
very disjointed and this was a way of dealing with the fragmented
flashbacks that they had to work with. The role of the little girl was
beefed up to cover up the lack of some plot material and character
I have heard since that the film of the actual shot was destroyed.
Personally, I thought they used too much of the scene in the film.
Apparently, though, Lee's mother at first wanted the film canned, not
released, but when she saw her son's work, she wanted it finished and
put out so people could see he had some true talent.