SANTA FE: Hollywood star Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer and wounded a director when he fired a prop gun on a New Mexico movie set, authorities said, and police on Friday were still investigating the circumstances of the shooting.

Halyna Hutchins was transported by helicopter after the shooting on Thursday to the University of Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

The incident occurred on the set of Rust at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, a production location south of Santa Fe, according to the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department.

Baldwin, 63, is a co-producer of Rust, a Western movie set in 1880s Kansas, and also plays the eponymous character who is an outlaw grandfather of a 13-year-old boy convicted of an accidental killing.

The sheriff’s office said late on Thursday that no charges had been filed and the investigation remained “open and active”. Baldwin voluntarily gave a statement about the shooting at the sheriff’s office, the Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported.

Baldwin’s representatives did not respond to requests for comment. People magazine reported on Thursday that a spokesperson for Baldwin called the shooting an “accident” involving the “misfire of a prop gun with blanks”.

Baldwin was seen “distraught and in tears” outside the sheriff’s department on Thursday, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Deadline, the news entertainment website, reported that Baldwin was questioned and released, citing a source in the sheriff’s office.

The film’s director, Joel Souza, was wounded and taken by ambulance to a local hospital. Actress Frances Fisher, who is co-starring in the movie, said on Twitter: “Souza texted me that he’s out of hospital.”

A hospital spokesperson declined to comment, saying he was not permitted to release information about patients.

Production of Rust has been halted for an “undetermined period”, several news outlets quoted the film’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, as saying.

Published in Dawn, October 23rd, 2021

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