Tears at candlelit vigil for shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

·4-min read
Tears at candlelit vigil for shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

Tributes were paid to Halyna Hutchins at a candlelit vigil on Saturday night.

Ms Hutchins, a cinematographer, was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin when he was handed a loaded prop gun he believed was safe on the set of indie Western Rust on Thursday.

Organisers of the vigil, which was held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, emphasised that the memorial was to honour Ms Hutchins’ memory rather than focus on her death.

However, some in the crowd held signs that read “Safety on Set” after issues to do with the production’s safety procedures were brought to light.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

Details have emerged suggesting the production was troubled before the tragic accident that killed Ms Hutchins and injured director Joel Souza.

Several crew members walked off the set at the Bonanza Creek Ranch, south of Santa Fe, just hours before the fatal shooting, protesting what they saw as poor working conditions.

Last week, Mr Baldwin‘s stunt double accidentally fired two rounds with a prop firearm after being told it was “cold,” an industry term meaning a weapon is not loaded with ammunition, the Los Angeles Times said.

At least one employee complained to a production manager about gun safety on set, the newspaper reported, citing unnamed crew members.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The same mistake may have occurred on Thursday, according to court records. An assistant director, Dave Halls, handed Mr Baldwin the prop gun and told him it was a “cold gun”, according to an affidavit from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

When Mr Baldwin fired the gun, Ms Hutchins was fatally struck in the chest, according to the sheriff’s office.

It is unclear why the gun contained a projectile. The person in charge of weapons on set is known as an armorer. The armorer for “Rust,” Hannah Gutierrez, had set up the gun and two others, according to the affidavit.

Mr Halls and Ms Gutierrez could not be reached for comment on Saturday.

Rust Movie Productions said in a statement on Friday it had not been aware of any safety concerns but was investigating the incident.

 (REUTERS)
(REUTERS)

“Though we were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down,” the company said. Baldwin is among the film’s producers.

About 200 mourners attended Saturday’s vigil, including set decorators, prop masters and costume designers. The actors Jon Hamm and John Slattery, who co-starred in the television hit “Mad Men” and are working on a movie in nearby Belen, also joined.

Mr Slattery, who is directing the movie starring Mr Hamm, told Reuters members of his crew were friends with Ms Hutchins, and Mr Hamm said the pair “came to support our community”.

A speaker at the vigil also read aloud a statement from Ms Hutchins’ husband, Matt.

“Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words,” he wrote.

“Please take time to remember her, and we will all work together to honor her memory and emulate her determination and her creativity.”

On Sunday, her husband also honored her in his first Instagram post since her death.

‘’We miss you, Halyna,’’ he wrote.

Mr Baldwin, 63, best known for his roles in TV comedy “30 Rock” and his “Saturday Night Live” impersonations of former US President Donald Trump, said on Friday he was shocked and heartbroken at Ms Hutchins’ death and was fully cooperating with authorities

Earlier on Saturday, Mr Souza addressed the incident for the first time, saying that he was “gutted” by Ms Hutchins’ death.

“She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better,” Mr Souza said in a statement. He was hit in the shoulder while standing behind Ms Hutchins, according to police; he was treated at a local hospital and released.

No charges have been filed in the case, and police have said the investigation remains active. Security guards were posted at the road leading to the ranch on Saturday.

The American Film Institute set up a scholarship fund for female cinematographers in Ms Hutchins’ honour.

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