Alec Baldwin “discharged” a prop gun that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on the set of the upcoming film Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico. The Santa Fe Sheriff’s department questioned Baldwin on set, and he was immediately released after no arrests or charges were made against the 63-year-old actor.
Halyna Hutchins, 42, was confirmed dead after being transported to a hospital in Albuquerque. On the other hand, Joel Souza, 48, remained at a local hospital, but his current condition is yet to be known.
“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,” Balwin wrote in a series of tweets on Friday.
In an official statement released by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s department, they 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. The investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident.”
Hours before the incident happened, several camera crew workers walked out of the set to protest its poor working conditions and the lack of gun safety. Workers were frustrated by the long hours, long commutes, and the constant delays in paychecks. Furthermore, they shared that safety protocols, including gun inspections, were not followed on the set of Rust, despite sources saying that at least one of the camera operators complained about the need for implementing gun safety on set.
Furthermore, three camera members present on set days prior to the fatal accident shared that it wasn’t the first instance of misfire using the prop guns. Baldwin’s stunt double allegedly fired two rounds after being told that the weapon did not have ammunition. The good news was that there were no casualties in the first misfire. “There should have been an investigation into what happened. There were no safety meetings. There was no assurance that it wouldn’t happen again. All they wanted to do was rush, rush, rush,” shared a crew member.
The set has been shut down since the accidental shooting, and production of Rust has been halted indefinitely.
In a statement, Rust Movie Productions LLC said, “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. 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.”
“The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company. Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time,” Rust Movie Productions LLC added.