Investigation underway for fatal movie set shooting, 911 calls released

Entertainment

SANTA FE, N.M. (KRQE) – Santa Fe County sheriff’s deputies were back on the set of ‘Rust’ on Friday talking to more witnesses and collecting more evidence. The film’s producer and star, Alec Baldwin, fired a prop gun, killing one and injuring another at the movie set at Bonanza Creek Ranch.


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The set has been closed since the fatal incident on Thursday afternoon. Baldwin shot a prop gun that killed 42-year-old Halyna Hutchins, the film’s director of photography. Baldwin also hit and injured the film’s director, Joel Souza, who was taken to Christus St. Vincent.

According to a Tweet from one of the film’s actresses, Frances Fisher, the director has been released from the hospital but Christus St. Vincent isn’t confirming that. The shooting is shaking the New Mexico film community.

“We’re a family. We’re a tight family. So, we were heartbroken,” said Justin Engel, a local IATSE member and head of the sound department.

Local assistant prop master, Aaron Aragon, says there are thorough safety protocols whenever a gun is on set. He said before a gun is introduced on set there are ‘gun checks’ to show the cast and crew the trigger, barrel of the gun, and the type of ammunition being used. The gun typically used on movie sets is considered real, though specially designed to only fire blanks. Blanks do not hold a bullet but still hold gunpowder and can still be dangerous. “You’re going to have gun smoke, you’re going to have muzzle flash and flair from the explosion itself. So it is a small explosion and even in itself can be dangerous,” said Aragon.

Aragon said only when everyone is clear on the gun’s role in the scene and trajectory of fire does it get used.

“When the gun hits the actor’s hands, that should only be when cameras ready, when all the other departments are ready to go and film. Most of the time, that gun will be in the prop master’s hand or the armorer’s until it’s safe for the actor and everybody else to hand the gun off. Then the action scene goes on and as soon as it’s cut, we grab that gun and it’s back in the armorer’s hand or prop master’s hand, instantly. That gun is not to be fooled with, it’s not to be passed around,” said Aragon.

Aragon said the on-set fatal shooting ‘hits close to home.’ “My condolences to their family, the crew, and cast that were all involved. I just can’t imagine the kind of thing that does to your psyche working with somebody and then you know, you see them perish right in front of you,” said Aragon.

Baldwin spoke out on Twitter on Friday. He says he is fully cooperating with the investigation. KRQE News 13 reached out to the New Mexico Film Office for comment on the fatal shooting. The office shared the following statement on Friday:

The Santa Fe County District Attorney’s Office sent the following statement on Friday:

“This case is still in its preliminary states of investigation. We are assisting the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and have offered our full support to them. At this time, we do not know if charges will be filed. We will look into all facts and evidence of the case with great discretion and have further information at a later time. Our thoughts are with all affected by this tragedy.”

First Judicial District Attorney, Mary Carmack-Altwies

The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office did not expect to release any more information on the investigation on Friday. Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham spoke out about the accident from the White House where she is visiting. She says she’s anxious to see what the Santa Fe sheriff’s department’s investigation reveals.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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