NEW MEXICO – Actor Alec Baldwin was reportedly seen “in tears” on Thursday after a tragic incident involving a prop gun that took place on the New Mexico film set of “Rust” that left the production’s cinematographer dead and director critically wounded.
According to authorities, Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls reported a shooting. The ranch is a popular location for film productions, with dozens of productions having utilized the site over the years.
However a spokesperson for Baldwin, 63, confirmed that the actor had fired a prop gun – which had been loaded with blanks – that tragically misfired, killing Halyna Hutchins, 42, and seriously injuring Joel Souza, 48.
Hutchins died from her injuries while being rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, reports say, while Souza was treated at Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe and was able to be released.
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Hutchins was a Ukrainian cinematographer credited with work on more than 30 films, short films and TV miniseries. Souza is a film director whose last film was 2019’s “Crown Vic.”
Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios stated that detectives are currently investigating the incident, including how and what type of projectile was discharged from the weapon.
“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.”
Immediately after the tragic incident, Bladwin was observed sobbing by members of local New Mexico media. Later, a Santa Fe sheriff spokesman confirmed that the actor had voluntarily spoken to detectives about the incident.
Production has been indefinitely halted on “Rust,” a western film about an outlaw with a bounty on his head who breaks his 13 year-old grandson out of prison after he is convicted of accidental murder and sentenced to hang; the two then go on the run while pursued by a U.S. Marshal and a bounty hunter.
The family of late actor Brandon Lee – who was also killed by a prop firearm mishap while filming “The Crow” in 1993 – issued a statement on Twitter in response to the incident on the “Rust” set.
“Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on Rust,” the tweet said. “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”