Alec Baldwin released his first statement following a shooting in which, according to officials, the actor discharged a prop gun on the set of his new Western, killing one of the film’s crew members and injuring another.
The shooting unfolded Thursday afternoon during the filming of “Rust” in New Mexico and left cinematographer Halyna Hutchins dead and injured director Joel Souza.
“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 tweeted Friday morning. “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.”
Hutchins, 42, was pronounced dead after being airlifted to a hospital. Souza, 48, was also taken to a hospital with an injury to the collarbone area. He has since been released, according to actor Frances Fisher, one of the film’s stars.
Previously, a spokesperson for the 63-year-old actor described the incident as an accident involving a prop gun with blanks misfiring. What type of projectile was discharged, and how, is still under investigation by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.
“This investigation remains open and active,” sheriff’s spokesperson Juan Rios said in a statement. “No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.”
It’s still unclear how many rounds were fired and if Baldwin was performing at the time. In addition to appearing in “Rust,” he’s also listed as a producer, according to his Internet Movie Database page.
Prop guns fire blanks, gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but not a hard projectile. But when the trigger is pulled, the paper or plastic wadding is ejected from the barrel with enough force that it can be lethal at close range, as proved to be the case in the death of an actor in 1984.
In another on-set accident in 1993, actor Brandon Lee — son of martial arts star Bruce Lee — was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun during filming of “The Crow.” The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near the 28-year-old’s spine.
In the aftermath of Thursday’s fatal shooting, production has been halted on “Rust.” 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 IMDb. 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.