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Prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin kills cinematographer on movie set

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By Euronews  with AP
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File photo Alec Baldwin, the actor involved in the shooting incident on the set of Rust
File photo Alec Baldwin, the actor involved in the shooting incident on the set of Rust   -   Copyright  John Minchillo/Associated Press

Actor Alec Baldwin expressed his "shock and sadness" on Friday over the death of a director or photography after he fired a prop gun on the set on his new movie.

Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for the movie Rust, and director Joel Souza were shot on Thursday, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s officials have confirmed.

Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, authorities said.

Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he’s undergoing treatment for his injuries.

Production has been halted on the film.

"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," Baldwin wrote in a social media statement.

"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," he added.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 68-year-old Baldwin was seen on Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him then were unsuccessful.

The International Cinematographers Guild confirmed that the woman fatally shot was Hutchins, a cinematographer.

“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine said in a statement.

Hutchins, 42, was director of photography on the 2020 action film Archenemy, starring Joe Manganiello. A 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, 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.”

Baldwin was a producer on Souza’s 2019 film, Crown Vic, which starred Thomas Jane as a veteran Los Angeles police officer on a manhunt for two violent bank robbers. His first credited film, 2010’s Hanna’s Gold, was a treasure hunt adventure featuring Luke Perry.

Police responded around 2pm to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls came in of a person being shot on set, sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said.

He said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.

“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.”

Filming for Rust was set to continue into early November, according to a news release from the New Mexico Film Office.

The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website.

The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.

In 1993, Brandon Lee, 28, son of the late martial-arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a bullet while filming a death scene for the movie The Crow. The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a gun on the set of the television series Cover Up.