Prop Gun Alec Baldwin Fired on 'Rust' Set Contained 'Live Round'
The prop gun that killed Rust cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza contained a "live single round," according to International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE) Local 44. Alec Baldwin, who stars in the western film, fired the prop gun in the on-set accident Thursday afternoon.
The "live round" was confirmed by the IATSE, a union for propmasters, in an email to members on Friday, which also labeled the incident "an accidental weapons discharge," according to IndieWire. The email, from Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Pawluc, stated that the bullet struck "both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halyna Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza" and also confirmed that the Rust propmaster did not belong to the Local 44 union. The statement contradicted an earlier report that the prop gun contained blanks. In a statement to PEOPLE, Baldwin's spokesperson said "there was an accident today on the New Mexico set of Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks," though Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office spokesman Juan Rios told The New York Times that investigators were still "trying to determine right now how and what type of projectile was used in the firearm."
"A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halnya Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza," the IATSE Local 44 email read. "Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members. There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet."
The update comes after news of the incident first broke Thursday evening. The accident reportedly occurred at about 2 p.m. that afternoon when two people, Hutchins and Souza, "were shot when a prop firearm was discharged," the Sheriff's Office confirmed. Hutchins was airlifted to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Souza was also transported to a nearby hospital to under treatment for his injuries. He was later released. An investigation into the accident is ongoing, with authorities speaking with witnesses.
Hutchins, who was based in Los Angeles, graduated from AFI in 2015 and was named one of American Cinematographers' Rising Stars of 2019. She filmed several shorts and was recently the cinematographer on Joe Manganiello's movie Archenemy. In a statement addressing the incident, Baldwin said he is "in touch" with Hutchins' husband, "offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."