[Updated: 8:39 p.m. ET]
A director of photography was fatally shot and a film director injured after actor Alec Baldwin fired a loaded gun he thought was safe to use while filming the Western movie Rust on a set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday.
Assistant Director Dave Halls “grabbed” the gun from among three set up on a gray rolling table by Armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed and yelled “Cold gun” as he handed it off to Baldwin moments before the deadly tragedy, a search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court and obtained by Rolling Stone reveals.
The “cold” designation indicated the revolver wasn’t loaded, but when Baldwin pulled the trigger, it fired a live round that struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest before also injuring Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, the search warrant states.
After the gun was fired, Gutierrez Reed allegedly “took the spent casing out of the prop gun” before she handed it to arriving deputies, the paperwork says. Baldwin’s blood-stained costume and the firearm were taken as evidence.
The terrifying incident unfolded shortly before 2 p.m. local time at Bonanza Creek Ranch, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office spokesperson Juan Ríos confirmed to Rolling Stone. Ríos said investigators were out at the ranch Friday evening serving multiple search warrants in what he called an ongoing “shooting investigation.”
“Our investigation is specific to the incident surrounding the discharge. Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged,” Ríos said Friday.
“We do know that Mr. Baldwin discharged the firearm,” he continued. “Mr. Baldwin was interviewed yesterday by detectives. He came in voluntarily to the sheriff’s office. He was very cooperative.”
The spokesman said no one had been charged or arrested as of Friday afternoon.
“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 tweeted Friday morning. “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.”
Matthew Hutchins, Halyna’s husband, said in a phone call to Insider, “I don’t think there are words to communicate the situation. I am not going to be able to comment about the facts or the process of what we’re going through right now, but I appreciate that everyone has been very sympathetic.” He added, “I think that we will need a little bit of time before we can really encapsulate her life in a way that is easy to communicate.”
Hutchins was flown to a hospital in Albuquerque, where she later died. Souza was transported to a medical center in Santa Fe where he received emergency treatment for his injuries. Actress Frances Fisher, who is also in Rust, tweeted that Souza was later released from the hospital. Fisher also posted a tribute to Hutchins on Instagram.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 44, the union of film workers that includes propmasters, sent an email to members (via Indiewire) about the “accidental weapons discharge,” noting that “a live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halnya Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza… Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects, and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.”
Baldwin, who is a co-producer of the film, portrays the titular outlaw Rust, whose 13-year-old grandson is convicted of accidentally killing someone.
The film’s production company Rust Movie Productions 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,” the company said. “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.”
The International Cinematographers Guild, Local 600 said in a statement, “We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the Director of Photography on a production called Rust in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set. The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family.”
Actor Joe Manganiello, who worked with Hutchins on the film Archenemy, tweeted Thursday: “I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy. An incredible talent & great person. I can’t believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family.”
I’m in shock. I was so lucky to have had Halyna Hutchins as my DP on Archenemy. An incredible talent & great person. I can’t believe this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? What a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family pic.twitter.com/W479ch56Js
— JOE MANGANIELLO (@JoeManganiello) October 22, 2021
The incident is reminiscent of the death of actor Brandon Lee, who was killed while filming the 1993 film The Crow when live ammo was lodged in a prop firearm that was loaded with blanks, hitting the 28-year-old Lee while filming a death scene.
The actor’s sister Shannon Lee, who operates Brandon’s memorial Twitter account, tweeted Thursday following the Rust incident, “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on Rust. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on “Rust”. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period. 💔
— Brandon Bruce Lee (@brandonblee) October 22, 2021
On Friday, Rust Productions promised to open an investigation into the incident following allegations reported by Deadline that the prop gun has previously misfired on a pair of occasions. “The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company,” they said in a statement. “Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that just hours before the incident, several members of the Rust camera crew resigned from the film over conditions with the low-budget shoot, including long working hours, complaints of late paychecks, and having to travel 50 miles from their Albuquerque hotel to the Santa Fe set each day. The camera crew — members of IATSE — reportedly were replaced by non-union crew.
“Corners were being cut — and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting,” a source told the LA Times, also adding that the prop gun had previously misfired. “There was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”