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Alec Baldwin speaks out after fatal prop gun shooting on 'Rust' set: 'There are no words to convey my shock and sadness'

·Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·4 min read
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UPDATE: Alec Baldwin issued a statement on Hutchins's death on social media Friday morning. 

"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," he tweeted. "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." 

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ORIGINAL STORY: The entertainment world is stunned over Thursday's prop firearm accident on the set of the Western film Rust. Alec Baldwin fired a weapon that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, and left director Joel Souza, 48, hospitalized. 

New photos show the 63-year-old actor visibly distraught after the incident. The Emmy-winning actor appears shaken while talking on the phone outside of the sheriff's office, according to The Santa Fe New Mexican. Rust was being filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, N.M.

Souza, who had initially been listed in critical condition, was released from the hospital late Thursday, Rust actress Frances Fisher announced.

Right now, there are more questions than answers about how an accident like this occurred.

"According to investigators it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged," the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department said in a statement. "Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged."

Security guards stand behind a locked gate at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Security guards stand behind a locked gate at the entrance to the Bonanza Creek Ranch on October 22, 2021 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. (Photo: Getty Images)

Authorities responded to the incident around 1:50 p.m. local time. The investigation remains open and no charges have been filed.

A spokesperson for Baldwin told the Associated Press that there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. As the AP notes, discharging a firearm without a metal projectile is unlikely to kill a person at a moderate distance. A rep for Baldwin has not responded to Yahoo Entertainment's request for comment.

IndieWire reports IATSE Local 44, which covers prop masters, sent an email to its members early on Friday morning saying that the gun used in the scene contained "a live round." The production's propmaster was purportedly not a member of Local 44. Yahoo Entertainment reached out to the group for comment but did not immediately receive a response. 

Production on Rust has been halted "for an undetermined period."

"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," a spokesperson for Rust Movies Productions LLC said in a statement to Deadline.

"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," the statement continued. "We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

This isn't the first time tragedy has struck a film set like this. 

While filming 1993's The Crow, actor Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was killed by his co-star after he was shot with a .44-caliber bullet. The prop gun was supposed to only have blanks, but there was a bullet lodged in the barrel. Lee was only 28. 

In a message posted to Lee's Twitter account, which is run by his family, they sent condolences to the families of Hutchins and Souza.

A Change.org petition was started overnight by young director Bandar Albuliwi, who knew Hutchins, calling on Hollywood to ban the use of real firearms on film sets.

"Halyna was a talented cinematographer and a good friend whose life was taken tragically due to a real firearm being used on set. We need to make sure this never happens again. There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century," Bandar says. "Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost."

This story was originally published on Friday, Oct. 22, at 10:27 a.m. ET and has been updated to include Baldwin's statement.