Alec Baldwin fired prop gun that killed cinematographer, injured director on Santa Fe set

SANTA FE, New Mexico (KABC) -- Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop firearm that killed a crew member and left the director hospitalized on the set of a Western being filmed in New Mexico, according to the Santa Fe County sheriff.

Director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, was rushed by helicopter to a local trauma center, where she died from her injuries, the sheriff's office said. Director Joel Souza, 48, was also injured and is hospitalized.

The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office says the two were shot during the filming of a scene involving a firearm. The incident remains under investigation and no charges have been filed at this time.

The incident happened around 1:50 p.m. Thursday on the set of the film "Rust," starring Baldwin and Jensen Ackles.

The production is being filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, used for a number of Westerns in the past, including "3:10 to Yuma" and "Cowboys & Aliens."

"There was an accident today on the New Mexico set of Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," a producer said in a statement to ABC News. ".... Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority."

Hutchins had made several recent posts to Instagram talking about how excited she was to be working on the film.

"One of the best parts of shooting a western are mornings like this!" she captioned one photo of a beautiful sunset. Her account was filling up with comments from friends and fans of her work mourning the loss.

Local authorities placed yellow crime-scene tape around what appears to be an old church on the set.

The union representing cinematographers issued a statement: "We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the Director of Photography on a production called 'Rust' in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set," the International Cinematographers Guild, local 600, said. "The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild's family."

Baldwin is co-producing the film under his company, El Dorado Pictures, with Joel Souza writing and directing. Earlier in the day Thursday, Baldwin posted a photo to Instagram from the set.

While film and movie shoots generally have extensive safety rules in place, there have been several instances of serious or fatal accidents on sets involving prop firearms.

Actor Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was killed during the filming of "The Crow" in 1993 when he was shot with an improperly loaded prop gun.

Actor Jon-Erik Hexum died in 1984 when he was playing around with a prop gun on a TV set and fired it at his head, unaware that blanks can be dangerous at close range.

Brandon Lee's family, which maintains a Twitter account in his name, commented on the incident: "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."



Copyright © 2021 KABC Television, LLC. All rights reserved.