Alec Baldwin was reportedly “inconsolable for hours” after allegedly discharging a prop gun on the New Mexico set of his Western film “Rust” in an accidental shooting that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza, a source with knowledge of the matter told People.
“Everyone knows this was an accident, but he’s absolutely devastated,” the unnamed source said, describing how Baldwin was “hysterical and absolutely inconsolable for hours” after the incident.
The actor “is canceling other projects,” the source said, and will “take some time to himself and re-center himself” by spending more time with family.
“This was pretty devastating,” the source told People. “This is how he handles difficult times. Whenever something bad happens, in the short term, he removes himself from [the] public eye.”
Baldwin “is someone who really deeply cares, so he can be very hard on himself,” the source said. “That’s true in general, in situations nowhere near as serious as this. But in this situation, it’s a whole other level because of the loss of life involved.”
Baldwin first publicly addressed the incident in Oct. 22 tweets, writing, “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 to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family,” Baldwin added. “My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Still no charges have been filed in connection to the fatal shooting.
Santa Fe-area District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies initially said prosecutors will be reviewing evidence in the shooting and do not know if charges will be filed. Hutchins’ husband Matthew Hutchins posted on social media to mourn his wife’s loss, asking for privacy for their nine-year-old son, Andros, and thanking her friends and mentors at the American Film Institute, who he said “nurtured the success we had only just begun to see flourish.”
Hutchins’ Ukrainian father, Anatoly Androsovych, who recently spoke to The Scottish Sun, is trying to organize travel for his wife, Olga, and daughter, Svetlana, to go to the United States to comfort Andros. He also said he thinks the prop team, not Baldwin, is responsible for his daughter’s death, adding though that it will be her husband who ultimately decides whether or not to pursue lawsuits.
Disputes in the production of the Western film “Rust” began almost from the start in early October and culminated with seven crew members walking off several hours before Hutchins was killed, according to The Associated Press. The crew members had expressed their discontent with matters that ranged from safety procedures to their housing accommodations, according to one of those who left.
At a rehearsal on the film set Thursday at Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe, the gun Baldwin used was one of three that a firearms specialist, or “armorer,” had set on a cart outside the building where a scene was being rehearsed, according to the court records.
Court records indicate that an assistant director, Dave Halls, grabbed a prop gun off a cart and handed it to Baldwin, indicating incorrectly that the weapon didn’t carry live rounds by yelling “cold gun.” When Baldwin pulled the trigger, he unwittingly killed Hutchins and wounded Souza, who was standing behind her inside a wooden, chapel-like building.
Baldwin, 63, who is known for his roles in “30 Rock” and “The Hunt for Red October” and his impression of former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live,” has described the killing as a “tragic accident.” He was a producer of “Rust.”
A 911 call that alerted authorities to the shooting at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe hints at the panic on the movie set, as detailed in a recording released by the Santa Fe County Regional Emergency Communications Center.
“We had two people accidentally shot on a movie set by a prop gun, we need help immediately,” script supervisor Mamie Mitchell told an emergency dispatcher. “We were rehearsing and it went off, and I ran out, we all ran out.”
The dispatcher asked if the gun was loaded with a real bullet.
“I cannot tell you. We have two injuries,” Mitchell replied. “And this (expletive) AD (assistant director) that yelled at me at lunch, asking about revisions….He’s supposed to check the guns. He’s responsible for what happens on the set.”
The New York Times also reported that there were at least two earlier accidental gun discharges. Guns used in making movies are sometimes real weapons that can fire either bullets or blanks, which are gunpowder charges intended to produce little more than a flash and a bang.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.