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Crew member dies and another injured after Alec Baldwin fires propeller pistol at set, officials say

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Producer and actor Alec Baldwin fired a gun that killed a woman and injured a man on the set of the movie “Rust” in New Mexico on Thursday, the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said.

The film’s cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was killed and director Joel Souza, 48, was injured when Baldwin, 63, discharged a gun, the sheriff’s office said in a report. press release Thursday evening.

Image: Director of photography Halyna Hutchins. (Fred Hayes / Getty Images for SAGindie file)

Souza was taken to hospital by ambulance and was receiving emergency treatment, officials said.

“There was an accident today on the set of Rust in New Mexico involving the misfire of a propeller pistol with blanks,” a spokesperson for Baldwin said in a statement. “Production has been halted for the time being. The safety of our cast and crew remains our top priority.”

A representative for Baldwin declined to comment further.

Footage obtained by NBC News showed Baldwin in a parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. In one photo, the actor is seen leaning over the curb and another talking on the phone.

The Hutchins rep declined to comment. She was taken by helicopter to the University of New Mexico hospital where she was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said.

Alec Baldwin leans in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's offices after being questioned about the shooting.  (Jim Weber / The New Mexican)

Alec Baldwin leans in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s offices after being questioned about the shooting. (Jim Weber / The New Mexican)

No charges have been filed, the sheriff’s office said, adding that the investigation was ongoing. Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched around 1:50 p.m. local time (3:50 p.m. ET) after a 911 call regarding a shooting on the set, the office said.

Frances Fisher, who stars in the film, tweeted during the night that Souza was released from the hospital, although NBC News could not immediately confirm that the director had been released.

Bonanza Creek Ranch is often used for Western productions. Aerial video from NBC’s KOB Albuquerque affiliate showed an old church that appeared to be blocked off.

On October 6, the New Mexico Film Office announced that “Rust” was on filming and would be in production through early November in Santa Fe. The production would employ approximately 75 New Mexico crew members, 22 lead actors and 230 “background talents”.

The film centers on a 13-year-old boy who runs away with his estranged grandfather after being sentenced to hang for the accidental murder of a rancher in the 1880s, according to the film’s diary.

Hutchins was originally from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines, according to its website. Before graduating from the American Film Institute in Los Angeles, she studied journalism in Ukraine and worked as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe.

On her Instagram account, she describes herself as a “restless dreamer” and an “adrenaline junkie”. Another article showed a video of Cackling riding a horse, along with the caption: “One of the perks of filming a western is that you can ride a horse on your day off.”

Image: Alec Baldwin takes a call in the parking lot outside the sheriff's offices.  (Jim Weber / The New Mexican)

Image: Alec Baldwin takes a call in the parking lot outside the sheriff’s offices. (Jim Weber / The New Mexican)

It is not clear exactly how the incident unfolded on Thursday.

Hollywood weapons expert Larry Zanoff said when guns are used as props in the television and film industry, only blanks – cartridges that do not contain bullets – are allowed. on the tray.

Even so, there is a minimum safety distance of 20 feet in front of the muzzle because even with white smoke and hot embers can be propelled out of the weapon, he said.

“There shouldn’t be anything in front of him when shooting with guns,” Zanoff said.

Weapons should also be inspected before and after each scene, and there should be a safety briefing as part of the protocol, he added.

“We have a series of guidelines in the industry that govern the use of firearms and blank ammunition on the set,” he said. “So my question of course is, first of all, was this protocol followed? “

In 1993, “The Crow” actor Brandon Lee died in a filming accident after being shot with a propeller pistol. The son of martial arts film icon Bruce Lee was 28 years old.

A verified account for the late actor, who says in the bio that he is directed by his sister Shannon Lee, tweeted Thursday evening that “our thoughts are with” the families of Hutchins and Souza and everyone involved in the incident.

“No one should ever be killed by a gun on a movie set. Full stop.” the account tweeted.

In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a pistol loaded with blank and empty cartridges on the set of the “Cover Up” television series, UPI reported at the time. .



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