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Alec Baldwin fatally shoots crew member with prop firearm on film set, authorities say

  • Alyssa Lukpat, The New York Times
    Published: 2021-10-22 21:08:14 BdST

69th Primetime Emmy Awards – Arrivals – Los Angeles, California, US, 17/09/2017 - Alec Baldwin. REUTERS/Mike Blake

The director of photography in an Alec Baldwin movie was killed and the film’s director was injured Thursday afternoon when the actor fired a prop firearm on the set of a movie in New Mexico, the authorities said.

Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed and Joel Souza, 48, was injured around 1:50 p.m. Mountain time on the set of “Rust,” a Western being filmed in Santa Fe County, Juan Rios, a spokesperson for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, said. The circumstances of the shooting are under investigation.

Rios said the shooting at Bonanza Creek Ranch happened in the middle of a scene that was either being rehearsed or filmed. He said the Sheriff’s Office was interviewing people on the set to determine how the two had been shot.

“We’re trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm,” he said.

Rios said Thursday night that the Sheriff’s Office had not filed charges against anyone in connection with the shooting.

Hutchins was flown to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she later died, Rios said. Souza was taken to CHRISTUS St Vincent Regional Medical Centre in Santa Fe.

The film’s producers and a representative for Baldwin, 63, did not immediately respond to emails or phone calls Thursday night.

On Thursday morning, Baldwin posted a photo on Instagram in his film costume, which included what appeared to be a prosthetic wound on his torso.

According to Hutchins’ website, she was originally from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She studied journalism in Ukraine and film in Los Angeles.

She called herself a “restless dreamer” and an “adrenaline junkie” on her Instagram profile. She posted multiple images this month from the set of “Rust,” including a video Tuesday of her riding a horse on her day off.

In a statement, John Lindley, the national president of the International Cinematographers Guild, and Rebecca Rhine, the organisation’s national executive director, called Hutchins’ death “devastating news.”

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” their statement said. “This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family.”

A statement from the New Mexico Film Office on Oct. 6 said the movie’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, would employ 75 crew members, 22 actors and 230 “background talent.”

“Rust” is a movie about a 13-year-old boy who goes on the run with his estranged grandfather after the accidental killing of a local rancher, according to IMDb. The movie, which was set to be filmed this month and next month, is directed by Souza and stars Frances Fisher and Baldwin, who is also producing the film.

The shooting echoed an accident on a movie set in 1993 in which actor Brandon Lee, Bruce Lee’s son, was shot and killed during a scene when a bullet that was lodged in the barrel of a gun was discharged along with a blank cartridge.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum accidentally shot himself in the head and died when he was pretending to play Russian roulette during a TV scene.

Baldwin, an Emmy Award-winning actor, has had a long career in movies, plays and television shows. In one of his best known roles, he played Jack Donaghy, an oblivious, domineering TV executive on the sitcom “30 Rock,” which ran on NBC from 2006-13.

He also portrayed Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” with a custom-made wig, glued-on eyebrows and puckered lips. He and Trump sometimes sparred on social media.

Baldwin also has a history of run-ins with the police.

In 2014, he was arrested after he rode his bicycle the wrong way on Fifth Avenue near 16th Street in Manhattan. He was not carrying identification and the officers who took him to a station house charged him with disorderly conduct after they said he became belligerent.

In 2019, Baldwin pleaded guilty to harassment in Manhattan Criminal Court and agreed to take an anger management course in a deal with prosecutors to dispose of charges that he had assaulted a man during a dispute over a parking spot.

© 2021 The New York Times Company