Alec Baldwin 'Rust' Shooting Accident Occurred After Camera Crew Walked off Set in Protest of Conditions

Members of the Rust camera crew reportedly walked off the set to protest bad working conditions on Thursday, hours before actor-producer Alec Baldwin fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounded the film's director, Joel Souza, with a prop gun. Camera operators and their assistants complained about long hours and missing paychecks, three people familiar with the situation told the Los Angeles Times Friday. Hutchins, 42, was taken to a nearby hospital after the shooting and died from her wounds. Souza has been released from the hospital after receiving treatment for his injuries.

Production on Rust started on Oct. 6 at the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, New Mexico. The camera crew arrived at the set at 6:30 a.m. Thursday to pick up their personal belongings to leave, a crew member told the Times. Crew members were promised hotel rooms in Santa Fe that would be paid for by the producers. Once filming began though, they were reportedly told they were staying in Albequerque and would have to drive 50 miles to Santa Fe each day. Hutchins was among those advocating for better conditions for her team, one crew member said.

After the crew members, including members of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), were picking up their gear, there were already nonunion workers there to replace them, one source told the Times. A member of the production staff then ordered the union crew members to leave the set or they would be removed by security.

"Corners were being cut - and they brought in nonunion people so they could continue shooting," the source said. The same source said the prop gun misfired twice on Saturday and a third time the week before. "There was a serious lack of safety meetings on this set," the source told the Times.

"The safety of our cast and crew is the top priority of Rust Productions and everyone associated with the company, " Rust Movie Productions LLC said in response to the Times' report. "Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down. We will continue to cooperate with the Santa Fe authorities in their investigation and offer mental health services to the cast and crew during this tragic time."


Santa Fe County Sheriff's deputies arrived at the scene at around 1:50 p.m. Thursday after receiving 911 calls about a shooting, about six hours after the union camera crew left. Baldwin was reportedly rehearsing at the time of the shooting. IATSE Local 44 sent an email to union members describing the shot that killed Hutchins and wounded Souza as a "live single round." However, a source close to the union told the Times they do not know exactly what the projectile was in the prop gun. "Live" is an "industry term that refers to a gun being loaded with some material such as a blank ready for filming," the Times reports.

No criminal charges have been filed, but the Sheriff's Office is still investigating and interviewing witnesses. On Friday, Baldwin tweeted that he is fully cooperating with the police. "There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother, and deeply admired colleague of ours," Baldwin wrote, later adding, "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."