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Photo: Instagram/Alec Baldwin

On a New Mexico ranch, where the filming of the upcoming film Rust was taking place, on October 21, 2021, a fatal accident took place on set when the film’s star Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun. The prop gun which was supposed to be safe and unloaded had a live round that fired on set and struck two people. Halyna Hutchins, the 42-year-old female director of photography for the film, was struck in her chest by the live round. She was taken to the hospital in a helicopter but unfortunately died of her injuries on her way. Joel Souza, the 48-year-old director of the film Rust was hit on his shoulder and was taken by ambulance to a local medical facility, where his injuries have been treated. This situation has rattled the crew and Hollywood as well, with questions about the safety of prop guns re-emerging even though incidents of this kind are extremely rare but not unheard of.

 

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An Unwitting Tragedy

 

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A warrant was issued by the Santa Fe Police Department following the incident and has thrown new light on this harrowing incident. What Baldwin was given on the set is known as a “Cold Gun,” which refers to guns that are either not loaded or are loaded with blanks. An assistant director unknowingly and unwittingly handed over to Baldwin a loaded weapon and told him it was safe according to court records show released on Friday, October 22, 2021.

The assistant director announced “Cold Gun,” on the set and handed it to Baldwin, stating that it was safe according to a search warrant filed by the Santa Fe Police department. Moments later Baldwin fired what was very much a loaded gun and the live round struck Halyna Hutchins and also Joel Souza who was standing behind her.

Sorrow & Regret

 

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Following a questioning session by the police, Baldwin was seen outside the station in tears and in utter shock at what had taken place. He was said to be compliant and he answered all questions that were asked. As well as starring in the movie, Alec Baldwin was also a producer of the movie Rust and following the incident, Baldwin stated on his Twitter account that he was in “shock and sadness” regarding the incident. He said that he has been in contact with Halyna Hutchin’s husband. He continued, stating, “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”

Horrific Loss

 

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Halyna Hutchins was a talented and upcoming cinematographer said to be an “incredible artist.” She previously notably worked on the indie superhero movie Archenemy. Hutchins was also named as a rising star in the film industry magazine American Cinematographer in an issue in 2019. A lot of her previous co-workers have since come out in praise of her stating that she was not just a rising talent but was also very creative and artistic.

 

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Halyna Hutchins was born in Ukraine in 1979 and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle. She entered the film industry after gaining a degree in International Journalism from the Kyiv State University in Kyiv, Ukraine. Following high-quality work on several documentaries in the United Kingdom, she moved to Los Angeles, California, USA, and graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015.

On Saturday, October 23, 2021, a vigil was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, to celebrate Halyna’s life and achievements, and also to her tragic passing away which drew hundreds of people. An investigation into this horrific incident is underway and is undergoing. There is growing anger against Hollywood for their regular use of guns as props and for any other reason after this fatal shooting.

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