Alec Baldwin film director ‘gutted’ by death of cinematographer

A director who was injured when Alec Baldwin fatally shot a crew member with a prop gun says he is “gutted” by her death.

Joel Souza was shot in the shoulder on a film set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and taken to hospital. He has since been discharged.

Standing in front of him when Baldwin fired the gun was cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was struck in the chest and died.

Moments before the shooting, Baldwin was handed the loaded prop gun by an assistant director who indicated it was safe to use, according to court documents.

Souza says he is “gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague Halyna”.

“She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Souza said in a statement.

“My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time. I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out….. It will surely aid in my recovery”.

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Souza did not give details of the accident or his injuries in the statement.

His tribute comes as reports suggest crew members were concerned about gun safety on the set before the fatal shooting.

Halyna Hutchins, director of photography for "Rust", poses for a selfie photo in this picture obtained from social media. Courtesy of HALYNAHUTCHINS via Instagram/via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. MANDATORY CREDIT. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES.
Image: Hutchins died after being shot on the set of the low budget movie Rust

Two crew members told the Los Angeles Times a weapon had been unintentionally fired twice in the days before the 42-year-old cinematographer’s death.

They told the paper Baldwin’s stunt double had been reassured the prop firearm wasn’t loaded, including with blanks, before he fired the two rounds last Saturday.

The Los Angeles Times is also reporting that half a dozen camera crew workers had walked off set in protest against working conditions hours before Hutchins was shot dead on Thursday.

On Friday, a Santa Fe judge approved a warrant for the sheriff’s office to seize firearms, clothing, cameras, video
tapes and ammunition from the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, where Baldwin was filming the low budget Western movie “Rust”.

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