Law enforcement officials said Friday that they do not know right now whether the prop gun Alec Baldwin fatally fired on a New Mexico film set Thursday contained a “live single round,” despite claims from a Los Angeles IATSE Local.
“We can neither confirm nor deny this information,” Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Juan Rios told Deadline this morning. “We haven’t even begun the forensics on that issue,” he added.
“That hasn’t been determined by us as of yet,” Officer Rios noted. “We expect to have more information next week as our investigation continues.”
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed by the weapon Rust star-producer Baldwin “discharged” on Thursday on location just outside Santa Fe. Director Joel Souza was also injured and taken to a local hospital; he has since been released. Baldwin was questioned by the police after the incident and released later in the day. “No arrests or charges have been filed,” the Sheriff’s department has said.
Late last night, as details were still emerging of what happened on the Rust set, IATSE Local 44 sent out an email to members alleging there were more than blanks in the prop gun.
As many of us have already heard, there was an accidental weapons discharge on a production titled Rust being filmed in New Mexico. 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. Unfortunately, we lost Sister Hutchins who passed from the wound.
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.
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.
IATSE Local 44
According to sources close to events, the union local believes there was a “live single round” in the prop gun because of the amount of damage the blast caused to Hutchins and to Souza, who supposedly was standing behind the DP when the shot struck her.
While there were no Local 44 members employed on the set of Rust, it is still to be determined whether members of New Mexico Local 480, which covers “experienced film workers in 99 crafts within 20 departments,” according to their website, were working on the low-budget Western.
Locally, only the New Mexico Film Office has released a statement about the incident so far.
“We along with the entire film community in New Mexico are saddened by the tragedy that happened on the set of Rust, yesterday,” it said Friday. “We send our deepest condolences to the family of Ms. Halyna Hutchins and are keeping positive thoughts for a complete recovery for Mr. Joel Souza. The safety and well-being of all cast, crew, and filmmakers in New Mexico is a top priority at all times.”
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