Per Alec Baldwin’s spokesperson, an accident occurred there, involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Juan Rios, Santa Fe County Sheriff's spokesman, said that detectives were investigating what type of projectile was discharged and how. No immediate charges were filed.
For now, the details of the shooting remain unknown. It is not clear if Baldwin was acting when it happened or how many rounds were fired. On Friday, Alec wrote on his Twitter, expressing his condolences to Halyna Hutchins' family and calling the shooting an accident:
"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. I'm fully cooperating with the police investigation. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."
There are some pictures on the web featuring the 63-year-old actor him distraught outside the sheriff's office on Thursday.
Prop guns fire blanks, gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but not a hard projectile. However, when the trigger is pulled, the paper or plastic wadding is ejected from the barrel with enough force to be lethal at close range. In the case of on-set accident of 1993, the actor Brandon Lee was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun.
Gun safety protocol on sets in the United States has significantly improved since the 90ies, according to Steven Hall, a veteran director of photography in Britain. Yet, he said added that one of the riskiest positions to be in is operating the camera, noting that person would be in the line of fire in gripping scenes, in which someone is pointing a gun at the audience.
42-year old Halyna Hutchins was immediately airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. 48-year old Joel Souza was wounded in the collarbone area.
As reported by sheriff’s spokesman, the deputies arrived at the movie set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch at about 2 p.m. after a 911 call, according to which a person was shot there. Rios also said:
"This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives."
Halyna Hutchins graduated from the American Film Institute in 2015 and then worked as director of photography on the 2020 action film ‘Archenemy,’ starring Joe Manganiello. She was named a ‘rising star’ by American Cinematographer in 2019.
Adam Egypt Mortimer, the director of ‘Archenemy,’ wrote on his Twitter account:
"I'm so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set. She was a brilliant talent who was absolutely committed to art and to film."
Manganiello called Halyna ‘an incredible talent’ and ‘a great person’ in an Instagram post, saying he was truly lucky to have worked with her.
Halyna Hutchins had Ukrainian citizenship, according to Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko. The country's consulate in San Francisco is working together with U.S. law enforcement officials to clarify all the circumstances of this tragic incident.