Eric Rust Obituary, Death – on October 21, 2021 sparked a flurry of rumors. As information trickled in, things became more clear: At a scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch in New Mexico, two people had been shot. Joel Souza, the director, was hurt, while Halyna Hutchins, the director of photography, passed away. One of the film’s producers and star Alec Baldwin “discharged” the weapon. But a lot of queries and worries remain in light of the recent developments. How did what was allegedly a prop get used in a fatal shooting? How common are injuries from guns on film sets? Who is responsible?
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office investigation into the incident has concluded, per Deadline. On October 27, 2022, the sheriff’s office delivered its report to New Mexico’s district attorney, who will now work with investigators and prosecutors to determine if criminal charges will be filed. On November 11, 2022, Deadline reported that Baldwin filed a negligence lawsuit against several crew members, alleging that they caused the tragedy. The complaint states that the actor is “seeking to clear his name,” adding that he has been fired from jobs and lost career opportunities due to the incident. Here is everything we do and don’t know about the fatal shooting on set of Rust.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office received a call at 1:50 p.m. MT on October 21, 2021 reporting a shooting on a film set, per a police statement provided to Vulture. Investigators later confirmed that Alec Baldwin “discharged” the gun at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set, shooting two people: Hutchins and Souza. The sheriff’s office told the New York Times the shooting occurred during a scene that was either being rehearsed or filmed. The Los Angeles Times later reported that Baldwin had been rehearsing a scene that involved shooting the gun outside the church on set. The statement from the sheriff’s office said a helicopter took Hutchins to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
An ambulance transported Souza to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center to be treated for his injuries. Deadline reported Souza had been released from the hospital early the next day. A spokesperson for Rust Movie Productions told Vulture that production on the film has been paused to comply with the investigation and to provide counseling to people working on the film. The AP reported on October 22, 2021 that court records indicate that Baldwin was told before the fatal incident that the gun had no ammunition. The film’s armorer, a term for the person in charge of gun props, was Hannah Gutierrez Reed.
Per the court records, she set three guns on a cart outside of the area where the scene was being acted. According to a search warrant application obtained by the AP, assistant director Dave Halls then brought one of the guns to Baldwin, not knowing that it was loaded with live rounds. A search warrant filed in a Santa Fe court noted that an assistant director said that the weapon was a “cold gun.” Hutchins, Souza, and a B-camera operator were still nearby assessing shots, the Los Angeles Times reported, when Baldwin pulled the gun out of a holster twice in preparation for the scene. The second time he removed the gun, ammunition reportedly flew toward the trio, penetrating Hutchins near her shoulder and continuing through to Souza.
During a press conference held by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office on October 27, 2021, Sheriff Adan Mendoza disclosed that the incident occurred during rehearsal for a scene on the set, and there was no camera footage of the shooting incident. When asked if Baldwin would face charges, District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said, ”no one has been ruled out at this point.” On October 27, 2022, Carmack-Altwies received an investigative report into the incident from the sheriff’s office. She will now review evidence with investigators and prosecutors and decide whether to bring criminal charges. “As with all cases that the District Attorney handles, her focus will be on upholding the integrity of the process, enforcing the laws of the state of New Mexico, and pursuing justice,” a spokesperson for the attorney’s office said in a statement.