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Union Says 'Live Single Round' Killed Woman on Movie Set

Alec Baldwin breaks silence after accident, says he's cooperating with investigators
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2021 11:33 AM CDT
Updated Oct 22, 2021 12:15 PM CDT
Alec Baldwin: 'My Heart Is Broken'
Alec Baldwin speaks on the phone in the parking lot outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office in Santa Fe, N.M., after the shooting Thursday.   (Jim Weber/Santa Fe New Mexican via AP)

(Newser) – Alec Baldwin has broken his silence on the deadly prop gun accident that left a woman dead on his movie set. Police in New Mexico say Baldwin himself fired the prop gun, resulting in the death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42. Director Joel Souza, 48, was injured. Details and more:

  • His tweet: "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." Baldwin added that he is in touch with her husband. "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

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  • Live round? There's still no full explanation of what happened, including what type of projectile might have hit the victims. However, a union representing prop makers says a "live single round" somehow got fired, reports the Los Angeles Times. “A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor," says the statement from Local 44, which represents employees in the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) in North Hollywood. The Sante Fe County Sheriff's Department likely won't have a complete picture for days, per the Hollywood Reporter.
  • Director apparently OK: Souza, who was directing the movie Rust, has been released from the hospital after suffering unspecified injuries, reports Deadline Hollywood.
  • Previous deaths: Coverage points to two similar fatalities, the most famous occurring in 1993 when Brandon Lee, son of Bruce Lee, was killed while working on The Crow. He was struck by a bullet from a gun that was supposed to be firing blanks. In 1984, John-Eric Hexum died after jokingly putting a blank-firing gun to his head and pulling the trigger while on the set of Cover Up: Golden Opportunity. At such close distances, even "blanks" can be deadly. "They all contain a charge, a powder that creates the noise and the explosive, the visual blast, and usually it's some kind of wire or something that explodes out of the weapon when it's fired," Daniel Oates, a former police chief, tells CNN.
  • Lee family: The Twitter account of Brandon Lee, run by sister Sharon Lee, offered condolences, reports CBS News. "Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on 'Rust,'” reads the tweet. "No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period."
  • Prop guns: The term "prop gun" is a wide-ranging one—it might mean a fake gun or a real gun that fires blanks—and USA Today digs into the particulars. CNN talks to a "prop master" (he wasn't working on Rust) who explains the dangers of movie-set guns in general. "Even though there is no actual physical projectile mounted on the cartridge, there will be gas, heat and air coming out of the weapon since there is gunpowder load present," says Joseph Fisher.
(Read more about Hutchins here.)

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