The actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on a movie set in New Mexico on Thursday, killing a cinematographer and wounding the director, police have said.
The incident occurred on the set of the independent feature film Rust, Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office said in a statement, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location south of Santa Fe.
Baldwin is a coproducer of the western movie, which is set in 1880s Kansas, and plays the eponymous Rust , an outlaw grandfather of a 13-year-old boy convicted of an accidental murder.
"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," the police said in a statement.
According to authorities, Hutchins was transported by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead, while Souza was taken by ambulance to Christus St Vincent Regional Medical center to undergo treatment for his injuries. It is understood that Souza has since been released from hospital.
No charges have yet been filed in regard to the incident, said the police, adding that they are investigating the shooting and interviewing witnesses. The sherrif’s office said in a statement that the investigation “remains open and active”. Baldwin was questioned by investigators and later released.
The actor went to the sheriff’s office willingly and provided a statement to investigators, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Deputies were still trying to determine whether what happened was an accident, the newspaper added.
Baldwin’s representatives did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Earlier on Thursday the American news magazine People reported that a spokesperson for Baldwin had said there was an “accident” involving the “misfire of a prop gun with blanks”.
Baldwin was seen “distraught and in tears” as he spoke on the phone outside the sheriff’s office headquarters on Thursday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported.
Most recently famous for his impersonations of Donald Trump on NBC's comedy sketch show Saturday Night Live, Baldwin has a long history in film and television, including roles in Glengarry Glen Ross and 30 Rock.
Originally from Ukraine, Hutchins once worked as an investigative reporter in Europe. She graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and was selected as one of American Cinematographer's Rising Stars of 2019, according to her website biography. – Reuters