Sheriff: Baldwin fired prop gun that killed cinematographer
SANTA FE, N.M. — Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western and killed the cinematographer, officials said. The director of the movie was wounded, and authorities are investigating what happened.
Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating what type of projectile was discharged and how. No immediate charges were filed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin of was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful. The 63-year-old actor is known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” as well as his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live.”
Prop guns fire blanks, gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but not a hard projectile. But when the trigger is pulled, the paper or plastic wadding is ejected from the barrel with enough force that it can be lethal at close range, as proved to be the case in the death of an actor in 1984. In another on-set accident in 1993, the actor son of martial arts star Bruce Lee was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun.
Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to a medical center.
“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” International Cinematographers Guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.
Sheriff’s deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot there, said Rios, the sheriff’s spokesman. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western “News of the World.”
“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.”
Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film “Archenemy,” starring Joe Manganiello. She was named a “rising star” by American Cinematographer in 2019.
“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” said “Archenemy” director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. “She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film.”