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More Details Released About Alec Baldwin's Fatal Shooting Of Filmmaker Halyna Hutchins On Santa Fe Set

A pockmarked green road sign reads: "Bonanza Creek Ranch" with an arrow pointed to the right.
A sign points to the direction of the Bonanza Creek Ranch where a fatal shooting occurred on a movie set on Thursday.
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Actor Alec Baldwin has a gray beard and wears an open-collar suit with a dark jacket. He stands in front of a National Geographic background in front of a red mic,
Alec Baldwin photographed on Oct. 7 at the Hamptons International Film Festival.
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Actor and producer Alec Baldwin accidentally shot and killed the director of photography of the movie "Rust" on a New Mexico film set on Thursday, according to a news release issued by the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department.

In a search warrant filed in court Friday, investigators said Baldwin was handed a loaded gun by an assistant director who did not know it was loaded.

Friday morning, Baldwin, 63, tweeted that he is "fully cooperating with the police investigation" and said "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."

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SANTA FE SET DEATH
Halyna Hutchins photographed at the SAGindie Sundance Filmmakers Reception in January 2019.
(Fred Hayes
/
Getty Images for SAGindie)

Sheriff's officials said deputies reported to the set on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe shortly before 2 p.m. local time after getting a 911 call.

Hutchins, the film's director of photography, was killed in the incident. Joel Souza, the director, also was injured.

Investigators say a prop firearm was discharged by Baldwin on the set.

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Hutchins, 42, was taken by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died. According to authorities, Souza, 48, had been receiving "emergency care" at a regional medical center where he was taken by ambulance.

Frances Fisher, one of the film's co-stars, said on Twitter late Thursday that "Director Joel Souza told me he’s out of hospital."

Santa Fe Sheriff's officials said that the "investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives."

Hollywood Reaction 'Heartbroken And Devastated'

The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, which represents below-the-line crew including people who work with props such as guns, said in a statement that it was “heartbroken and devastated” by the tragedy.

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“Our entire alliance mourns this unspeakable loss with Halyna’s family, friends, and the Rust crew,” IATSE said. “We are activating our partnerships across the industry to provide support and resources to our sisters, brothers, and kin. Creating a culture of safety requires relentless vigilance from every one of us, day in and day out. Please, if you see something, say something."

Separately, the IATSE local unit that specifically represents people who work with props said in a message to its members that the "Rust" production did not employ union staff to work with firearms.

“A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza,” the union told members, as reported by Variety. The local unit has not responded to our requests for additional comment.

The Santa Fe New Mexican published pictures of a distraught Baldwin near the parking lot of the sheriff's department.

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About The Film

According to an IMDB description of "Rust," the film is about:

"A 13 year-old boy, left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880's Kansas, goes on the run with his long estranged grandfather after he's sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher."

A Rising Talent

Hutchins, whose cinematography credits included "Archenemy" (2020), "Darlin'" (2020) and "Blindfire" (2020), had posted to Instagram recently about the benefits of filming a western.

In an interview earlier this year, Hutchins talked about coming to the U.S. from Ukraine and then making her way from New York to L.A., where she didn't know anyone.

Citing her interest in art house films, she took classes at UCLA extension and began making short films, 15 in all while she was studying.

"I kept shooting and I thought to myself, That's probably my calling, because that's a visual median that I was really attracted to and lighting was my favorite thing," she said in an episode of "Spotlight Series" titled "Why Women Are Excelling In Hollywood."

Prop Gun Fatalities: Rare, But They Have Happened Before

There have been previous incidents of deaths on set caused by firearms. In 1984, Jon-Erik Hexum died of an accidental self-inflicted wound to the head when he fired a blank cartridge. Hexum, 26, was working on the set of "Cover Up" in L.A. at the time.

In 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, was killed when a gun that was supposed to have blanks instead had a live round chambered. Lee, 28, was filming "The Crow" in Wilmington, N.C. when he was killed.

A Twitter account run by Lee's sister said this on Thursday:

IATSE's Rebecca Rhine, who heads the guild's cinematographers branch, said the union will press for a full investigation and hold accountable those responsible.

SAG-AFTRA, the union representing actors and other performers, issued a statement saying it is "devastated by this tragic news."

“This is still an active investigation and we do not yet have all the facts," said the statement from SAG-AFTRA President Fran Drescher and National Executive Director Duncan Crabtree-Ireland. "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."

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Corrected November 10, 2021 at 11:17 AM PST
A previous version of this story was incorrect about Alec Baldwin's age. LAist regrets the error.
Corrected October 22, 2021 at 3:41 PM PDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly spelled Joel Souza's last name. LAist apologizes for the error.
Updated October 21, 2021 at 7:59 PM PDT
This story was updated sheriff's statement that Alec Baldwin fired the prop firearm.