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Halyna Hutchins, 42, died shortly after being shot by Baldwin around 1.50pm Thursday at Bonanza Creek Ranch, near the city of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Joel Souza, 48, the film's director, was also hurt and spent several hours in hospital, but was released later the same evening.
Police have disclosed few details about the shooting, saying only that a 'projectile' was fired by a 'prop gun' and they are investigating. A spokesman for the movie's production company later said that accident involved 'the misfire of a prop gun loaded with blanks'.
A witness told Hollywood gossip site Showbiz 411 that Baldwin immediately began asking why he was handed a 'hot gun' - which typically means a gun loaded with real ammunition - after the shooting.
Though fatal accidents with blank ammunition are extremely rare, they do happen.
Brandon Lee, the 28-year-old son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, was shot and killed on the set of 1993 movie The Crow. The film crew in that accident thought the gun was loaded with dummy bullets and blanks, but an autopsy revealed Lee had a .44 caliber bullet lodged in his spine.
Rhys Muldoon, an Australian actor who has worked extensively in film and TV, also suggested that a blank misfiring close to the camera could have caused Thursday's accident - telling the BBC that material from the blank round could have struck Hutchins before causing part of the camera to hit Souza.
Mike Tristan, 60, a Hollywood armorer with 30 years' experience who spoke to the Dailymail.com, said ultimate responsibility for gun safety on movie set rests with the armorer.
Alec Baldwin is pictured sobbing after shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his upcoming movie Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday
The 68 year-old actor was also snapped doubled-over in a parking lot, with his hands on his knees and his face seemingly crumpled with distress
Halyna Hutchins, 42, (left) was shot dead in the incident on Thursday at the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where writer-director Joel Souza, 48, (right) was also injured
Police tape cordons of a small church used as a set for the movie, after a fatal accidental shooting at a Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set near Santa Fe on Thursda
A deadly shooting took place on the movie set of ‘Rust’ after the prop gun Alec Baldwin used misfired and shot two people, fatally injuring a cinematographer and injuring the film’s director on Thursday.
The accident took place in Santa Fe, New Mexico when Baldwin was filming a scene in the film which required someone to fire the prop gun. Thought to be loaded with blanks, the gun’s bullets struck director Joel Souza and cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Authorities said in a statement that Hutchins died from her injuries and Souza was airlifted to a nearby hospital.