SANTA FE, N.M. - Actor Alec Baldwin said his "heart is broken" for the family of a cinematographer who was shot on the set of a Western movie after Baldwin fired a prop gun, killing the woman and injuring the movie's director.
Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on "Rust," and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Detectives were investigating what type of projectile was discharged and how. No immediate charges were filed.
"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 wrote on Twitter. "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."
Baldwin continued: "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."
A spokesperson for Baldwin said earlier that there was an accident involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. It was not clear if Baldwin was performing at the time of the shooting or how many rounds were fired and little was known about the weapon.
Hutchins, 42, was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel, the sheriff's department said.
Souza, 48, was taken by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center, where he underwent treatment for his injuries. "Rust" co-star Frances Fisher tweeted early Friday that Souza had been released.
Hutchins, a 2015 graduate of the American Film Institute, worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film "Archenemy," starring Joe Manganiello. She was named a "rising star" by American Cinematographer in 2019.
One of Hutchins’ final social media posts was a photo of the "Rust" actors standing together in solidarity with crew members. She belonged to the IATSE union that represents crew members. The union is to vote soon on a new contract with producers after threatening to strike in recent weeks over issues including long hours and on-set safety.
"I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set," said "Archenemy" director Adam Egypt Mortimer on Twitter. "She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."
"I was lucky to have known her and to have worked with her," Mortimer added.
Film colleague Manganiello called her "an incredible talent" and "a great person" on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with Hutchins.
"She had such an eye and a visual style, she was the kind of cinematographer that you wanted to see succeed because you wanted to see what she could pull off next. She was a fantastic person. There was no amount of pressure she couldn’t handle," Manganiello wrote. "I can’t believe that this could happen in this day and age… gunfire from a prop gun could kill a crew member? This is a horrible tragedy. My heart goes out to her family and especially to her son."
Sheriff's deputies responded about 2 p.m. to the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch after 911 calls described a person being shot on set, said Rios, the sheriff’s spokesman. The ranch has been used in dozens of films, including the recent Tom Hanks Western "News of the World."
"This investigation remains open and active," Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said in a statement. "No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives."
FILE - Hamptons International Film Festival Chairman Alec Baldwin attends the World Premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films' 'The First Wave' at Hamptons International Film Festival on Oct. 7, 2021, in East Hampton, New York. (Photo by Mark
Baldwin was spotted outside the sheriff’s office on Thursday in tears, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The 63-year-old actor is known for his roles in "30 Rock" and "The Hunt for Red October" as well as his impression of former President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live."
Filming for "Rust" had been 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.
This story was reported from Cincinnati. The Associated Press contributed.