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'Rust' shooting: 'Live single round' killed cinematographer, union says

Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times on

Published in News & Features

A shot fired on the New Mexico set of “Rust” that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza on Thursday was “a live single round,” according to a union representing prop makers and other crew members.

“A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza. Both were rushed to the hospital,” said an email sent to members of Local 44, a North Hollywood-based chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees.

Hutchins later died from the wound.

A source close to the union told the Los Angeles Times that it does not know what projectile was in the gun. The source also clarified that “live” — in reference to a “live single round” — is an industry term that refers to a gun being loaded with some material such as a blank ready for filming.

“Rust” actor and producer Alec Baldwin fired the prop weapon that killed the director of photography and injured Souza, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.


The western film’s props, set decoration, special effects and construction departments were staffed by a New Mexico crew, the union email said, not Local 44 members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.

“On behalf of Local 44’s Officers, Executive Board and Staff, our thoughts and prayers go out to Halyna and her family. We also send good thoughts to Joel and his family for a full recovery,” the union said.

The film is an independent feature that was filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch and has halted production in the wake of the incident.

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