Prop Gun That Killed Cinematographer on Alec Baldwin Film Contained
Live Single Round,' Union Claims
By Brent Lang, Gene Maddaus
The prop gun that killed "Rust" cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and
wounded director Joel Souza on during an on-set accident on Thursday
contained a "live single round," according to an email sent by IATSE
Local 44 to its membership.
Additionally, the union says that New Mexico crew members staffed the
props, set decoration, special effects and construction departments on
"Rust," not its members.
"A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal
actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member
Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza," the union told members.
"Both were rushed to the hospital. Unfortunately, we lost Sister
Hutchins who passed from the wound."
Alec Baldwin, the star and producer of the Western, fired the prop
gun, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff's office. Hutchins, 42,
was transported by helicopter to University of New Mexico Hospital in
Albuquerque, where she died. Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to
Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center in Santa Fe, where he
received emergency treatment for his injuries. He has subsequently
left the hospital.
In the email that IATSE Local 44 sent, Secretary-Treasurer Anthony
Pawluc said the event was "an accidental weapons discharge."
"Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special
Effects and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew
members," Pawluc said. "There were no Local 44 members on the call
sheet. On behalf of Local 44's Officers, Executive Board and Staff,
our thoughts and prayers go out to Halyna and her family. We also send
good thoughts to Joel and his family for a full recovery."
"Rust" is an independent feature that was filming at the Bonanza Creek
Ranch, a popular production location south of Santa Fe. Baldwin was
questioned by law enforcement. The Sheriff's office said in a
statement that Hutchins and Souza "were shot when a prop firearm was
discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor."
The production company initially reported on Thursday afternoon that
the incident involved "blanks," but the Sheriff's office later said
that it was too soon to determine what type of round was used.
The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, the parent
union representing most U.S. production workers, also issued a
statement, saying it was "heartbroken and devastated" by the tragedy.
"Our entire alliance mourns this unspeakable loss with Halyna's
family, friends, and the Rust crew," the union said. "We are
activating our partnerships across the industry to provide support and
resources to our sisters, brothers, and kin. Creating a culture of
safety requires relentless vigilance from every one of us, day in and
day out. Please, if you see something, say something. If you feel
unsafe on set for any reason, including harassment, send us a tip via
the IATSE Safety Hotline at 844-422-9273 or using our safety info
IndieWire first reported the contents of the IATSE Local 44 email.