US actor Alec Baldwin on Thursday 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.
Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on the movie Rust, and director Joel Souza were shot on the rustic film set in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officials said.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks, although 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.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the 63-year-old Baldwin was seen on Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.
Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, the sheriff’s department said.
Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is undergoing treatment.
“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.
Sheriff’s deputies responded at about 2pm to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot on set, Rios said.
“This investigation remains open and active,” Rios said in a statement. “No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, worked as director of photography on last year’s action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello. 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,” Archenemy director Adam Egypt Mortimer wrote on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”
In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of late martial arts star Bruce Lee (李小龍), 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.
A Twitter account for Brandon Lee, run by his sister, Shannon Lee, posted the statement: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust’. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
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