Actor Alec Baldwin accidentally killed the director of photography of the film he was shooting by firing a prop gun that was allegedly a blank and that he did not know was loaded.
In addition to the deceased woman, identified as Halyna Hutchins (42), the shots also wounded the film’s director, Joel Souza (48), who was taken to the intensive care unit of Christus St. Vincent Medical Center in the vicinity of Santa Fe, in the state of New Mexico.
Photographs published by the local Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper show Baldwin in distress at the door of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s office, where he was questioned about the incident.
The accident happened around 2 p.m. at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where several scenes were being filmed for the western movie “Rust,” in which Baldwin was both producer and star.
The Sheriff’s Office has opened an investigation to clarify what happened and what type of projectile was in the gun, which is not known if it was used during the filming of a scene or in a rehearsal.
“Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was fired. The incident remains an active investigation,” the department explained in a statement.
At this time, authorities are ruling out filing criminal charges.
The International Cinematographers Guild issued a statement identifying the fatality.
“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,” said John Lindley, president of the union.
“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,” he added.
The New Mexico Film Office said Oct. 6 that the filming of “Rust” employed 22 actors, 75 technicians and more than 230 extras, although it is unknown how many of them were present at the time of the incident.
The accident is reminiscent of the death of Bruce Lee’s son Brandon Lee during another filming in 1993.