Alec Baldwin Fatally Shoots Cinematographer, Wounds Director in Apparent Accident on Movie Set: Authorities

Alec Baldwin
Alec Baldwin at film premiere in June.Getty

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of "Rust" in New Mexico, police said, killing director of photography Halyna Hutchins.

Actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set Thursday, killing director of photography Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, 48, authorities said.

Circumstances of the shooting are under investigation. It occurred in the middle of a scene that was being rehearsed or filmed, said Juan Rios, a spokesman for the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in New Mexico. Investigators are interviewing those on the set to determine what happened, he said.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to a hospital, but died of her injuries, authorities said. Souza, 48, was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, where he was treated and released.

The shooting occurred Thursday afternoon at Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe County, during the filming of "Rust," a western starring Baldwin, 63, who also is a producer on the movie.

"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. 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," Baldwin posted on Twitter Friday.

He went to the sheriff’s office willingly and provided a statement to investigators, Rios said “We’re treating this as we would any other investigation,” he added.

In photos captured by a local journalist, a distraught Baldwin is seen crying in the parking lot of the sheriff's department, talking on a cellphone and clutching a face mask. In another image, he is seen doubled over. 

No one has been arrested or charged in the shooting, the sheriff's office said. “We’re trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm,” Rios said.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement Friday saying, "This case is still in its preliminary states of investigation. We are assisting the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office and have offered our full support to them. At this time, we do not know if charges will be filed. We will look into all facts and evidence of the case with great discretion and have further information at a later time. Our thoughts are with all affected by this tragedy."

In a statement, the movie’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, said: “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.”

Hutchins, an up-and-coming director of photography, graduated from the American Film Institute's conservatory in 2015, according to her website. She was born in Ukraine, and "grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines. She holds a graduate degree in International Journalism from Kyiv National University in Ukraine and previously worked as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe," her site says.

Her recent credits include serving as director of photography for the feature film "Archenemy," starring Joe Manganiello, and "Blindfire," a racially charged police drama starring Brian Geraghty. She was also a member of the International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600.

“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, the president of the guild, and Rebecca Rhine, the executive director, in a statement. 

"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.”

Souza is a filmmaker based in Bay Area and previously directed "Crown Vic," a 2019 feature film that followed the life of a Los Angeles Police Department officer who hunts two cop killers on the loose.

Baldwin and Souza are listed as writers for "Rust"

Thursday's shooting echoes earlier movie set accidents. In 1993, actor Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was shot and killed while filming "The Crow," during a scene in which a a bullet that was lodged in the barrel of a prop gun was discharged along with a blank cartridge. “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza,” Brandon Lee’s sister Shannon Lee tweeted Friday.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself in the head while filming an episode of the CBS TV series “Cover Up.” Hexum died after simulating Russian roulette.

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