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Alec Baldwin says his ‘heart is broken’ after firing prop gun that killed cinematographer on set

SANTA FE, New Mexico (KABC) — Alec Baldwin said Friday his “heart is broken” for the family of a cinematographer killed after Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of a movie Thursday.

“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. “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.”

Halyna Hutchins, cinematographer on the movie “Rust,” and director Joel Souza were shot Thursday on the rustic film set for “Rust” in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico, according to County Sheriff’s officials.

A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident on the set involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. The production was being filmed at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, used for a number of Westerns in the past, including “3:10 to Yuma” and “Cowboys & Aliens.” A producer in a statement to ABC News said production has been halted for the time being.

Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged. No immediate charges were filed.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported the 63-year-old Baldwin was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful.

Hutchins, 42, was rushed by helicopter to a local trauma center, where she died from her injuries.

Actress Frances Fisher, who’s also in the film, said on Twitter that 48-year-old Souza has been released from the hospital.

Hutchins had made several recent posts to Instagram talking about how excited she was to be working on the film.

“One of the best parts of shooting a western are mornings like this!” she captioned one photo of a beautiful sunrise. Her account was filling up with comments from friends and fans of her work mourning the loss.

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.

“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.”

Manganiello called Hutchins “an incredible talent” and “a great person” on his Instagram account. He said he was lucky to have worked with her.

The union representing cinematographers issued a statement: “We received the devastating news this evening, that one of our members, Halyna Hutchins, the Director of Photography on a production called ‘Rust’ in New Mexico died from injuries sustained on the set,” the International Cinematographers Guild, local 600, said. “The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event. This is a terrible loss, and we mourn the passing of a member of our Guild’s family.”

Baldwin is co-producing the film under his company, El Dorado Pictures, with Joel Souza writing and directing. Earlier in the day Thursday, Baldwin posted a photo to Instagram from the set.

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.

While film and movie shoots generally have extensive safety rules in place, there have been several instances of serious or fatal accidents on sets involving prop firearms.

Actor Brandon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee, was killed during the filming of “The Crow” in 1993 when he was shot with an improperly loaded prop gun.

Actor Jon-Erik Hexum died in 1984 when he was playing around with a prop gun on a TV set and fired it at his head, unaware that blanks can be dangerous at close range.

Brandon Lee’s family, which maintains a Twitter account in his name, commented on the incident: “Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on “Rust”. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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