Alec Baldwin fired prop gun accidentally killing a woman on set of movie Rust
Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set in an accident that killed a photography chief and injured a director, authorities in New Mexico have said.
A statement from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office said Baldwin, who is acting in and producing the film Rust, had fired the prop gun in an incident on Thursday.
The statement said deputies were dispatched to the set around 2pm in Bonanza Creek Ranch when a 911 caller reported a shooting.
“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” it said.
“Ms Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico Hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.”
“This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident.”
Juan Rios, from the Sheriff’s Office, told the Guardian: “Mr Baldwin came in voluntarily to speak with investigators and after speaking with them he left.”
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin was seen on Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.
“According to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” Rios told the Albuquerque Journal. “Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.”
Production has been halted on the film, which was being directed by Souza with Baldwin producing and starring in it.
Hutchins, 42, was director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello. A 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, she was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.
“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”
“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” International Cinematographers Guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement, reported by the Associated Press.
Tributes to Hutchins have poured in over social media.
“I will miss you my friend … this is devastating,” director James Cullen Bressack wrote under a video that Hutchins had posted two days earlier. At the time she had written: “One of the perks of shooting a western is you get to ride horses on your day off.”
Model Katya Zharkova also said she would miss Hutchins “terribly” while actor Jeff Daniel Phillips described her death as “an absolute tragedy.”
Filming for Rust was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.
The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.
In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow. The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.