SANTA FE, NM –-(Ammoland.com)- Anti-gun nut Alec Baldwin shot and killed one person and injured one other on the set of the upcoming western movie, “Rust.”
Around 1:50 PM local time on Thursday, Alec Baldwin discharged a “prop gun” on the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the movie was being filmed. Unbeknownst to the star and crew, the firearm was loaded with live ammunition. Multiple people were hurt.
“According to investigators, it appears that the scene being filmed involved the use of a prop firearm when it was discharged,” a release from the sheriff’s office said. “Detectives are investigating how and what type of projectile was discharged.
Director Joel Souza, 48, was injured in the shooting and was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent’s hospital, where he is being treated with non-life-threatening injuries. Souza is known for the 2019 movie “Crown Vic.” This movie was his fourth big Hollywood production. Baldwin is personal friends with Souza and produced “Crown Vic”.
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, was evacuated by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead by the medical staff.
The Ukrainian-born filmmaker started her career out as an investigative journalist. She worked on several British documentaries in Eastern Europe before moving to America to pursue her dream of working in Hollywood. She attended American Film Institute.
Hutchins graduated from American Film Institute in 2015, and her peers viewed her as an upcoming talent in the filmmaking world. She was named a “rising star” by the American Cinematographer magazine in 2019. She was the Director of Cinematography for the action film “Archenemy.”
This incident harkens back to the death of Brandon Lee. The son of legendary martial artist and international movie star Bruce Lee was killed on the set of “The Crow.” Similarly, to this situation, the gun was supposed to be loaded with blanks, but it was not adequately checked due to an oversight by the special effects crew. In that tragedy, the crew loaded a Smith & Wesson Model 629 .44 Magnum with dummy rounds. The crew removed the powder but not the primer. The round’s energy was enough to separate the bullet from the casing lodging it in the barrel setting up a dangerous error. This malfunction is better known as a squib load.
The crew did not correctly check the firearm, with a squib round in the barrel, before inserting a blank round. When actor Michael Massee fired the blank, it caused the previouse bullet to fire out of the gun, striking Brandon Lee in the chest. Lee would die from his injury. He was 28 years old.
The film crews on both movies clearly did not follow strict firearms safety best practices while on set. The only way an incident like this can happen is through negligence.
The Professional Outdoor Media Association, a leading proponent of firearms & film safety, has a comprehensive guide to safe firearms handling on film and video sets. These most basic of safe gun handling rules that if followed by the outspoken anti-gun activist, Baldwin, would have saved a life.
Pre Photo Shoot Preparation:
- Keep all weapons under strict control and out of the reach of minors, models, and assistants.
- Make sure all weapons are clear or unloaded and free of ammunition [or projectiles] before bringing on set.
- Never have ammunition on-site or on-set.
Just because a gun is considered a “prop” doesn’t mean it is not a real firearm and can’t be fired.
The investigation is currently active. It is not known to AmmoLand what prop house supplied the firearms for the movie. AmmoLand News will continue to update the story as more is found out.
About John Crump
John is a NRA instructor and a constitutional activist. John has written about firearms, interviewed people of all walks of life, and on the Constitution. John lives in Northern Virginia with his wife and sons and can be followed on Twitter at @crumpyss, or at www.crumpy.com.