By Aaron Miller-
Actor Alec Baldwin could face criminal charges, despite expressing his shock and sadness after fatally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a prop gun on a New Mexico film set.
The 64 year old American actor and writer said he was heartbroking after the mishap.
Efforts to save Hutchins failed, and she was pronounced dead after being flown by helicopter to the University of New Mexico hospital. Souza was being treated at Christus St Vincent regional medical centre, where he was brought by ambulance.
On Friday, Baldwin tweeted: “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.”
The movie Rusk which was being filmed at the Bonanza Creek ranch outside Santa Fe, New Mexico, and filming has been temporarily suspended.
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s office said in a statement that the pair were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by 68-year-old Baldwin, who is a producer and actor on the film, which is about an accidental killing.
Santa Fe’s top prosecutor Mary Carmack-Altwies told Deadline she had opened an investigation into possible criminal charges stemming from the fatal shooting.
“At this time, we do not know if charges will be filed,” she said.
“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,” he wrote in a post on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna.”
Santa Fe County deputies were called to the scene at 1:50pm on Thursday.
Ms Hutchins was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter where she was pronounced dead.
He tweeted that he was in touch with her husband and had offered support.
“My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” he wrote.
Ms Hutchins, 42, was shot on the set of the western Rust while working as director of photography.
“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,” he tweeted.
“I’m fully co-operating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred.”
Ms Hutchins was flown to hospital by helicopter after the shooting on Thursday afternoon but died of her injuries.
Director Joel Souza, 48, was injured and taken from the scene at Bonanza Creek Ranch by ambulance.
A spokesman for Mr Baldwin, best known for his role as Jack Donaghy on the NBC sitcom 30 Rock and for his portrayal of Donald Trump on sketch show Saturday Night Live, said the incident involved the misfiring of a prop gun with blanks.
Police are trying to establish what type of projectile left the prop gun and how. Local media reported that Mr Baldwin was seen outside the Santa Fe County sheriff’s office in tears.
“At this time, we do not know if charges will be filed,” said First Judicial District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies.
The actor is a co-producer of Rust and plays its namesake, an outlaw whose 13-year-old grandson is convicted of manslaughter.
The eldest of four brothers, all actors, Mr Baldwin has starred in numerous TV and film roles since the 1980s.
Ms Hutchins was from Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle, according to her personal website. She studied journalism in Kyiv, and film in Los Angeles, and was named a “rising star” by the American Cinematographer magazine in 2019.
She was the director of photography for the 2020 action film Archenemy, directed by Adam Egypt Mortimer.
“I’m so sad about losing Halyna. And so infuriated that this could happen on a set,” Mr Mortimer said in a tweet.
In a statement, the International Cinematographer’s Guild said Ms Hutchins’ death was “devastating news” and “a terrible loss”.
“The details are unclear at this moment, but we are working to learn more, and we support a full investigation into this tragic event,” said guild president John Lindley and executive director Rebecca Rhine.
Ms Hutchins’ talent agency, Innovative Artists, wrote in an Instagram post on Friday that she was “a ray of light”.
“Her talent was immense, only surpassed by the love she had for her family.”
The agency’s statement added it hopes that the fatal incident “will reveal new lessons for how to better ensure safety for every crew member on set.”
Police said sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to Bonanza Creek Ranch, a popular filming location, at around 13:50 local time (19:50 GMT) on Thursday after receiving an emergency call.