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Injured film director Joel Souza ‘gutted’ by death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

·3-min read
Injured film director Joel Souza ‘gutted’ by death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

A film director who was injured when Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer with a prop gun has broken his silence following her death.

Joel Souza, who was hit in the shoulder when the actor discharged the prop on set, said he was gutted by the death of Halyna Hutchins, 42.

His comments came as the investigation entered its third day, with multiple questions remaining over how the mistake happened.

“I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna. She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Mr Souza said in a statement.

Crew member Ms Hutchins was shot in the chest, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

She died of her wounds and Mr Souza, who was behind her, was injured but later released from the hospital.

Ms Hutchins’ husband Matt posted a picture of her with their eight-year-old son Andros and commented “her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words.”

Mr Souza did not give details of the accident or his injuries but said he was “humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out.”

On Friday a judge approved a warrant for the sheriff’s office to seize firearms, clothing, cameras, video tapes and ammunition from the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, where Mr Baldwin was filming the low budget Western “Rust.”

Security guards were posted at the road leading to the ranch on Saturday.

According to an affidavit filed by a sheriff’s office detective, Mr Baldwin was handed what he believed was a safe or “cold” prop gun during a rehearsal on Thursday, but it contained live rounds when it was fired.

No charges have been filed in the case.

Alec Baldwin (AP)
Alec Baldwin (AP)

The gun was one of three that the film’s armourer had set on a cart outside the wooden structure where a scene was being acted, according to the records.

An assistant director grabbed the gun from the cart and brought it inside to Mr Baldwin while unaware that it was loaded with live rounds, a detective wrote in the search warrant application.

It was unclear how many rounds were fired.

The International Cinematographers Guild planned to hold a candlelight vigil for Ms Hutchins on Saturday evening in Albuquerque, about 40 miles from the ranch.

A second vigil was scheduled for Sunday in the Los Angeles area.

The American Film Institute set up a scholarship fund for female cinematographers in her honour.

Mr Baldwin, 63, best known for his roles in TV comedy “30 Rock” and his “Saturday Night Live” impersonations of former US President Donald Trump, said on Friday he was shocked and heartbroken at Ms Hutchins’ death and was fully cooperating with authorities.

Rust Movie Productions said in a statement on Friday it was investigating the incident.

“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,” the company said.

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