Alec Baldwin breaks silence after fatal prop gun shooting: 'Heartbroken'

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Actor Alec Baldwin has spoken out following an on-set incident that saw him accidentally shoot a prop gun that killed a woman and wounded a man.

Director of photography Halyna Hutchins, 42, died on Thursday (local time) after being shot by a prop firearm discharged by Baldwin on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set of the Western film, Rust.

Alec Baldwin on a red carpet
Alec Baldwin has spoken out after he shot a prop firearm that killed director of photography, Halyna Hutchins. Photo: Getty Images

Baldwin speaks out

The film's director, Joel Souza, 48, was also injured and rushed to hospital in a critical condition but has reportedly since been discharged.

Baldwin, 63, took to Twitter the following day to address the 'tragic accident' that left Hutchins, a wife and mother-of-one, dead.

He expressed his 'shock and sadness,' and said that he is 'fully cooperating' with the police investigation.

"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.

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Two tweets by actor Alec Baldwin about the shooting death of Rust director of photography Halyna Hutchins. Photo: Twitter/alecbaldwin.
Alec Baldwin speaks out following the shooting death of Rust director of photography Halyna Hutchins. Photo: Twitter/alecbaldwin.

"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."

The tragedy unfolded at about 2pm on Thursday (local time) when local police responded to 911 reports of a shooting on the Rust film set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch.

A statement by the Sante Fe, New Mexico Sheriff’s Department identified the two people who had been shot by a prop firearm as Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director.

Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital, where she died, while Souza received emergency care at another hospital. he has since been released, according to a tweet by Rust star Frances Fisher.

A photo of Halyna Hutchins using camera equipment. Photo: Instagram/halynahutchins.
Rust director of photography, Halyna Hutchins in 2019. Photo: Instagram/halynahutchins.

The statement also confirmed that Baldwin had "discharged" the prop gun. At the time, no charges had been filed however the investigation remained 'open and active' as detectives continued to interview witnesses.

The statement read:

"The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor."

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 at the Rust film set at Bonanza Creek Ranch. Photo: Getty Images.

Production halted

Production was been halted "for an undetermined period" on the Western movie, which stars and is produced by Baldwin.

"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."

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks.

A photo of Alec Baldwin in period costume with a fake blood stain on set of the film Rust. Photo: Instagram/alecbaldwininsta.
Alec Baldwin shared this photo of himself in period costume with a fake blood stain on Instagram prior to the incident. Photo: Instagram/alecbaldwininsta.

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

"According to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged," sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios told the Albuquerque Journal. "Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged."

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.

Travis Fimmel, Brady Noon, Frances Fisher and Jensen Ackles also star.

Tributes flow

Tributes for Hutchins have already begun flowing in on social media, with the likes of Elijah Wood, Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson and Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn sharing their condolences.

"I am so so sorry. rest easy. My love and strength to your family," Johnson wrote in the comments section of Hutchins's most recent Instagram post.

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."

Additional reporting by AP.

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