SANTA FE, N.M. (NewsNation Now) — Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set and killed the cinematographer, authorities said. The director of the Western being filmed was wounded, and authorities are investigating what happened.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, though a charge without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill at a moderate distance. Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.
“This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives,” the sheriff’s office said in a news release.
Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography, was taken by helicopter to an area hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Joel Souza, 48, director, was taken by ambulance to another hospital where he was undergoing treatment for his injuries, according to the Sante Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
On Friday, Baldwin expressed “shock and sadness” in a statement via Twitter.
There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.Alec Baldwin
Production has been halted on the Western movie “Rust.”
The International Cinematographers Guild confirmed that the woman fatally shot was Hutchins, a cinematographer.
“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.
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.
SAG AFTRA, an actors union, expressed condolences for the victims but did not comment on Baldwin in a statement to NewsNation. “We will continue to work with production, the other unions and the authorities to investigate this incident and to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again,” it reads.
The movie “Rust” 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 1880′s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather after he’s sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.
Prop guns fire blanks, gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but not a hard projectile. But when the trigger is pulled, the paper or plastic wadding is ejected from the barrel with enough force that it can be lethal at close range.
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.
In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series ″Cover Up.″
The Associated Press contributed to this report.