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'Rust' Film Production 'Devastated' After Alec Baldwin Accidentally Kills Cinematographer With 'Prop Gun'

'Rust' Film Production 'Devastated' After Alec Baldwin Accidentally Kills Cinematographer With 'Prop Gun'
Jim Spellman/Getty Images; Fred Hayes/Getty Images for SAGindie

In a devastating accident on set of the film Rust, Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun killing the director of photography and injuring the films director.

The Western was filming in New Mexico on Thursday when Baldwin discharged a prop gun and wounded DP Halyna Hutchins, age 42. Hutchins was transported to the hospital by helicopter and pronounced dead by medical processionals at the University of New Mexico Hospital.

Director Joel Souza, age 48, sustained injuries and was taken to Christus St. Vincent's Hospital by ambulance.

A spokesperson from Rust Movies Productions LLC said in a statement:

"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 was an up and coming cinematographer in the Hollywood industry.

Filmmaker and journalist Jim Hemphill, who featured her in a spread in 2019, told CNN:

"[Hutchins] was just in love with movies and movie-making."
"She grew up on a Soviet military base where there wasn't much to do but watch movies."
"So she fell in love with movies at a young age, came over here, was really making a name for herself as a cinematographer of genre movies."
"She was known for action films and horror films."
"It is just a devastating loss, I think, to everybody in the cinematography community."

No arrests or charges have been made so far, but the investigation is still considered open and active.

An official from the Santa Fe Police Department said:

"Mr. Baldwin was questioned by investigators and released."
"This investigation remains open and active."
"No charges have been filed in regard to this incident."
"Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives."

Normally, the first Assistant Director is responsible for set safety in partnership with the Props Master in charge of firearms. Sources said Baldwin was unaware of the type of ammunition in the prop gun.

Prop Master Joseph Fisher, who has worked with weapons in the military and with the NYPD, shared how even prop firearms can be dangerous or, if misused, fatal.

"Typical prop load will be about 25 to 50% of the gunpowder in an actual projectile load that would be used in a regular weapon."

He explained that gas, heat and air comes out of the fake weapon because gunpowder is present.

"Those can cause physical injury within 25 to 50 feet, depending on the load."

This wasn't the first time someone had been killed on a set because of prop weapon misuse.

Brandon Lee, son of action star Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 on the set of The Crow when an actor fired a prop gun that was believed to have blanks.

Shannon Lee, Brandon's sister, tweeted from his memorial account their condolences for the Hutchins family.

Others have shared their condolences on Twitter to uplift the work of the late cinematographer.

Our condolences go out to Hutchins' family and all those involved in the tragic incident.