Alec Baldwin discharged a prop gun on the set of 'Rust,' killing the film's cinematographer and injuring its director, authorities say

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Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin acts in and is a producer for the film "Rust." Jim Spellman/Getty Images
  • Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun that killed one person and injured another Thursday, authorities said.

  • The incident occurred near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the set of the movie "Rust."

  • The film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, died and the director, Joel Souza, was injured.

The actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot one person and injured another with a prop firearm on the set of the movie "Rust" at Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office.

The film's director of photography, Halyna Hutchins, 42, died after being transported to the University of New Mexico Hospital in critical condition.

The director, Joel Souza, 48, was treated at the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since left the hospital, "Rust" cast member Frances Fisher tweeted early Friday.

The gun used contained a "live round," according to an email that IATSE Local 44, a prop master's union, sent to its members early Friday.

The email also said that the prop master on set was not a member of Local 44, IndieWire reported

Sheriff's deputies were dispatched to the set at about 1:50 p.m. local time after receiving a call about a shooting.

"According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged," the sheriff's office said in a statement provided to Insider. "Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged."

The sheriff's office also said the prop gun was fired by Baldwin, 63, who is acting in and producing the film.

The investigation is ongoing, and law enforcement are interviewing witnesses. No charges have been filed.

Photos published by the Santa Fe New Mexican showed Baldwin in tears and looking distraught outside the sheriff's office on Thursday.

Baldwin spoke out about the event on Twitter, saying his "heart is broken." 

"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," he wrote.

"I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred," he added.

Baldwin continued: "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."

-AlecBaldwin(HABF) (@AlecBaldwin) October 22, 2021

IATSE also released a statement mourning the death of Hutchins, who was a member of the union. 

"We are heartbroken and devastated to learn that one of our members, sister Halyna Hutchins, died yesterday from injuries sustained on set while working as the Director of Photography on Rust in New Mexico. Our entire alliance mourns this unspeakable loss with Halyna's family, friends, and the Rust crew," the statement said. 

'Rust' halts production

The story for "Rust," a Western set in the 19th century, was developed by Baldwin and Souza, who wrote the screenplay in addition to directing the movie, Deadline reported.

The movie follows an outlaw named Harland Rust, played by Baldwin, who travels to Kansas to help his estranged son escape from prison after the 13-year-old boy is sentenced to death for an accidental murder.

"The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones," Rust Movie Productions LLC, the film's production company, said in a statement provided to The New York Times.

"We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

Earlier Thursday, Baldwin posted a photo on his Instagram account of himself on the set, though the post was later deleted.

Hutchins' cinematography credits included "Archenemy," an independent thriller released in 2020 that starred Joe Manganiello. She also shared photos from the "Rust" set on social media in recent weeks.

Days before her death, Hutchins had expressed support for a Hollywood union protesting dangerous working conditions.

In a statement, leaders of the International Cinematographers Guild called the incident "devastating news."

"The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event," John Lindley, the national president, and Rebecca Rhine, the national executive director, said, according to The Times. "This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild's family."

Firearms have accidentally killed people on set before

According to Deadline, a film's prop master or armorer would usually be in charge of prop firearms and firearm safety on the set.

Firearms have accidentally killed people on movie sets before. In 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of the martial artist and actor Bruce Lee, was accidentally killed while shooting the movie "The Crow." Lee was struck by a bullet lodged in the barrel of a gun that was supposed to be firing blanks.

In 1984, the actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after accidentally shooting himself in the head with a gun shooting blanks while filming the TV series "Cover Up."

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