Alec Baldwin Fatally Discharges Prop Firearm at Rust Director of Photography

Alec Baldwin Fatally Discharges Prop Firearm at Rust Director of Photography

Alec Baldwin Fatally Discharges Prop Firearm at Rust Director of Photography

The incident resulted in the death of the film's cinematographer and an injury to the director.

The incident resulted in the death of the film's cinematographer and an injury to the director.

Text: Addison Aloian

Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of the upcoming film Rust in New Mexico yesterday around 1:50pm, resulting in the death of the cinematographer and the movie director’s injury, according to CNN.

Occurring at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe County, Halyna Hutchins, 42, was immediately taken to the hospital via helicopter and was later pronounced dead at the University of New Mexico Hospital, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. Originally from Ukraine, Hutchins was raised on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle and studied journalism before moving to LA to pursue film, according to the New York Times. The director Joel Souza, 48, was taken to Christus St. Vincent’s Regional Medical Center by ambulance after his injury, but details on his condition are unknown. Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said that the shooting happened in the middle of a scene that was being rehearsed or filmed.

Fred Hayes/Getty Images

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

A Western film set in the 1880s in Kansas, Rust stars Baldwin, Travis Fimmel, and Jensen Ackles, and tells the story of a young boy who is forced to figure out life with his younger brother after the passing of their parents. He “goes on the run with his long estranged grandfather after he's sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher,” according to IMDb.

Joseph Fisher, a prop master who works on movie sets with weapons and formerly with the military and NYPD, explained that there is typically a safety briefing on prop weapons to the cast and crew prior to filming. This training includes practicing holding the weapon from a safe distance and misaligning actors with the weapon, so that when it fires, it misses the other actors.

"Prop weapons do have a dangerous factor to them even though they're a lot safer than using a live firearm on set," Fisher said. "Typical prop load will be about 25 to 50 percent of the gunpowder in an actual projectile load that would be used in a regular weapon."

Courtesy of Instagram

Baldwin took to Twitter an hour ago to make a statement on the incident. “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 said. “I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and 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.”

The film’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, released a statement: “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.”

Currently, the investigation “remains open and active,” as the circumstances of the shooting are unknown, reported by the Sheriff’s office. No charges have been filed.

Credits: Cover Image Courtesy of Jim Weber/The New Mexican

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