Actor Alec Baldwin allegedly shot and killed a woman and wounded a man with a prop gun on set of Rust, a Western movie.
Police said the incident occurred on Thursday on the set of independent feature film Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location south of Santa Fe, the capital of New Mexico state.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded.
“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography, and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” the police said in a statement.
No charges have yet been filed regarding the incident, said the police, adding they are investigating the shooting and interviewing witnesses.
According to authorities, Hutchins was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, while Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical centre to undergo treatment for his injuries.
It was not immediately known how serious Souza’s injuries were, although actress Frances Fisher tweeted early Friday that “Souza texted me that he’s out of hospital.”
Baldwin started asking how he could have been given a “hot gun” — meaning a firearm loaded with real ammunition—“In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun,” the actor allegedly kept saying.
The witness said Baldwin was in shock after the ordeal and he “had no idea how badly they were hurt or Halyna was dead.”
The film set was sent into lockdown and production was halted immediately after the accidental double shooting, which unfolded at about 2 p.m.
“According to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” sheriff’s spokesperson Juan Rios told the Albuquerque Journal. “Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.”
Baldwin was released after being questioned by investigators from the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department. No arrests or charges have been filed.
Baldwin is a co-producer in the Western movie set in 1880s Kansas and plays the eponymous Rust, an outlaw grandfather of a 13-year-old boy convicted of accidental murder.
Most recently famous for his impersonations of former President Donald Trump on NBC’s comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live, Baldwin has a long history in film and television, including roles in Glengarry Glen Ross and 30 Rock.
“We are devastated by this tragic news. Our hearts go out to the family of Director of Photography Halyna Hutchins who has passed away and to Director Joel Souza who is injured and hospitalized,” said Fran Drescher, president of the Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA). “This is still an active investigation and we do not yet have all the facts. We will continue to work with production, the other unions and the authorities to investigate this incident and to understand how to prevent such a thing from happening again.”
Hutchins, who was originally from Ukraine, graduated from the AFI conservatory in 2015. She was selected as one of American Cinematographer’s Rising Stars of 2019, according to her website.
On her Instagram account, Hutchins shared video of her riding a horse during the filming of Rust and a group photo of the crew on set, in which Baldwin is included.
Her recent work includes the superhero action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello, and Blindfire.
Filming for Rust was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.
The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas.
The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather, played by Baldwin, after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.
Incidents on movie or television sets, in which someone is killed or injured, by a prop firearm are rare.
In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow. The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.