Alec Baldwin shooting: ‘Rust’ director Joel Souza ‘gutted’ by on-set fatality

“Rust” director Joel Souza, who was wounded Thursday by a prop gun that also killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, said he was “gutted” by her loss.

In a statement that was reported by Deadline and NBC News on Saturday, Souza, 48, talked about his colleague in his first public comments since being released from a New Mexico hospital.

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“Director Joel Souza told me he’s out of hospital,” Frances Fisher, an actress in “Rust,” tweeted early Friday after reports that he had been seriously injured.

Hutchins, 42, was killed and Souza was wounded when actor Alec Baldwin, 63, fired a prop gun he believed was safe to use, according to a search warrant. The bullet struck Hutchins in the chest and injured Souza, who was standing behind her, in the shoulder, according to The Associated Press and KOAT-TV.

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

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“My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time. I am 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,” Souza added. “It will surely aid in my recovery.”

The scene to be filmed was a gunfight that began in a church, and Baldwin’s character was supposed to back out of the sanctuary, according to production notes obtained by the Los Angeles Times.

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Hutchins was looking into a monitor behind a camera operator lining up her next camera shot when she was killed, the newspaper reported. Souza was crouching just behind her.

Baldwin removed the gun from its holster once without incident, but the second time he did so, ammunition flew toward the three people around the monitor. The bullet missed the camera operator but hit Hutchins near her shoulder and then hit Souza, according to the Times.

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Filming for “Rust” began in New Mexico in the first week of October, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. Production was expected to continue into November with 75 in-state crew members, 22 principal actors from New Mexico and 230 local people providing background talent, the newspaper reported.

Production for the movie has been halted. There have been no arrests or charges filed, and an investigation is ongoing, according to the Times.

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