Actor Alec Baldwin unloaded a ‘prop gun’ that killed a director of photography and injured the director of the film Rouiller, being filmed on a set south of Santa Fe, a spokesperson for the county sheriff’s office said Thursday evening.
Halyna Hutchins, 42 and director of photography for the film, died at the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque. The director of the film, Joel Souza, was hospitalized in Santa Fe, said Juan Ríos, spokesperson for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
A source close to the investigation said Baldwin, 63, was interviewed by investigators on Thursday evening and was seen by a New Mexican journalist and photographer in tears.
Investigators are still trying to determine whether the incident was an accident, Ríos said. No charges have been filed and the investigation is open, Ríos wrote in a press release.
The prop was pulled at Bonanza Creek Ranch, where filming was underway, the sheriff’s office said in an early evening press release. Baldwin stars in the production.
Hutchins died of her injuries after being airlifted to the University of New Mexico hospital, according to the sheriff’s office. Souza was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he is receiving emergency care, the sheriff’s office said. Attempts to get Baldwin’s comment were unsuccessful.
“We received the devastating news tonight that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for a production called ‘Rust’ in New Mexico has died from injuries sustained on set,” said John Lindley, president of the International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 and Rebecca Rhine, the executive director, said in a statement, as reported by Variety. “Details are not clear at this time, but we are working to find out more and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. It is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a family member in our Guild.
MPs were investigating how the crash happened and “what kind of projectile was fired,” the sheriff’s office said in an earlier press release.
Rust Movie Productions did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Film for Rouiller was scheduled to continue in early November, according to a press release from the New Mexico Film Office. It is described as the story of a 13-year-old boy abandoned to himself and his younger brother after their parents died in 1880s Kansas, with New Mexico doubling for Kansas.
Blank-firing firearms have been charged with fatalities in previous film productions. The Hollywood online news site Deadline reported: “Actor Jon-Erik Hexum was killed on October 18, 1984 on the set of the television series. Cover when he accidentally shot himself in the head with a blank loaded firearm. And in 1993, Brandon Lee, the son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died after being shot in the head by a blank gun on the set of The crow. Both incidents were determined to be accidents. “