About 400 mourners gathered around twilight Saturday at the Albuquerque Civic Plaza to honor Halyna Hutchins, the cinematographer fatally shot Thursday on a movie set at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Hutchins, who authorities say was killed by a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin, was praised at Saturday’s candlelight vigil for her talent and compassion. It was organized by the Santa Fe chapter of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, Local 480.

Holly Tadych, a member of the IATSE Local 480 union that represents professional film technicians, said she was at the vigil to pay her respects.

“It’s just sad. There’s a little boy without his mother and a husband without his wife,” she said. “She was a beautiful young woman with her life ahead of her.”

Hutchins, 42, was struck in the chest on the set of the film Rust, a search warrant affidavit states, and died later Thursday after being airlifted to an Albuquerque hospital. Director Joel Souza, who was standing behind her, was struck in the shoulder; he was treated at a local hospital and released, according to the New York Times.

Melvin Prescott, a special effects artist with Local 480, said he was at Saturday’s vigil because he was hurt, angry and “kind of confused as to why this type of thing keeps happening,” he said.

“A lot of rules were broken, and I guess people don’t know the procedure,” said Prescott, who said he had friends on the set of the film The Crow when actor Brandon Lee was accidentally shot and killed in 1993.

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Mourners gather around a picture of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil Saturday at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque.

A gun handed to Baldwin was supposed to be “cold” — meaning it didn’t contain live ammunition, including blanks, a crew member told the Los Angeles Times. Another misfire had occurred the previous week, the Times reported.

“This thing should never happen,” Prescott added. “There should never be live ammo on the set. I’ve been asked to be involved in training and education, and after this, I really feel like that’s the only thing that I can now do is to try to mentor and teach people that don’t know the way things are done — and why.”

Several people spoke at the vigil; among them was John Lindley, national president of the IATSE Local 600 Union International Cinematographers Guild.



He read aloud a message he was sent by Halyna Hutchins’ husband, Matt, that stated: “Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Her loss is enormous, and we will need time to process our grief. The outpouring of sympathy from her many friends has been overwhelming, and we thank everyone for their kind and generous sharing of images and stories of her life. Please take time to remember her, and we will all work together to honor her memory and emulate her determination and her creativity.”

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Mel Prescott, who works in special effects, relights candles on the steps of Civic Plaza following the candlelight vigil for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins.

Baldwin, who was not seen at the vigil, expressed regret about the shooting a day earlier on Twitter, referring to Hutchins as “a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours.”

Baldwin, 63, is a co-producer of Rust and one of its stars. He voluntarily went to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office and gave statements following the shooting, sheriff’s office spokesman Juan Ríos has said.

It remained unclear Saturday whether anyone would face charges in the death of Hutchins, a native of Ukraine who grew up on a Soviet base north of the Arctic Circle, according to her website.

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Lane Luper, camera assistant, is comforted after addressing the group gathered for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins candlelight vigil at Civic Plaza in Albuquerque on Saturday night.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies issued a statement Friday saying the case was still in “its preliminary stages of investigation.”

Hutchins identified herself as a “restless dreamer” and “adrenaline junkie” on her Instagram page. In a 2019 interview with American Cinematographer, which named her one of that year’s rising stars, she described herself as an “army brat” drawn to movies because “there wasn’t that much to do outside.”

In recent days, she had posted images from the set of Rust on the outskirts of Santa Fe. One of them showed the film’s crew, who gathered to express solidarity with union members. The members of IATSE were seeking a new contract and threatened to strike before a settlement was reached last weekend.

The union said nonunion crew members had handled props on the Rust set, according to Variety.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

(31) comments

Richard Main

This is my last comment. I am a long time gun collector. I own all kinds of firearms. I have an 1890's Colt single action western style gun most likely similar to the one used. Excellent gun. Very safe. Easy to see the rounds in the cylinder. No excuse for this accident. It is bad habits and policies that happened here that give responsible gun owners a bad name. I have never pointed a gun at anyone. The only time one was pointed at me I took it away from the nut case. I do deplore all the senseless gun violence shown in the movies and TV. No one should own or handle a gun who is not trained and serious about their potential for harm. Hollywood is no exception That is my real point in commenting here. My family was touched by a fatal gun incident on a ranch. That's all folks!

Khal Spencer

All good comments, Mr. Main.

Richard Main

Alec has liability not just because he pulled the trigger. He is the, or one of, the producers. They choose the armorer. It's called "respondiat superior". Those quoting the industry rules or standards do not trump the law. If you deal with guns, know the rules for safe gun handling, do not try to hide behind "industry practices", no jury would buy that. I hope they had a good insurance policy. I hate to say it,but even the unfortunate victims should have thought twice about getting in front of the gun. The camera could have sufficed. Guns are dangerous. Knowledgable people, in the military, in police work, do not point guns just for effect and do not let anyone point a gun at them. The real sad part of this is as long as certain people keep trying to convince others, "we know better, we are in the industry, just rely on our practices" there will be no accountability, no changes. Stop with the excuses. Be part of the solution don't continue the stupidity.

Kirk Allison

Exactly.

Richard Main

Going to be real interesting how the authorities handle this case. No liability by anyone? The Industry and lawyers will do best to let this all go away with a civil settlement.

Richard Main

Fine to say actors are, just "actors" and not gun experts BUT didn't your Mom and everyone else with HALF A BRAIN tell you as a child "Don't point a gun at anybody unless you plan on shooting them" ?? HE didn't need to personally open the action, he could have asked the "Armorer" to show him the gun was in a safe condition. BTW, not hard to see a real bullet in the cylinder of a revolver.

Brent Lambert

You have no clue how, in the history of movies and television, actors have been instructed to deal with prop guns. Actors do what they are TOLD is safe to do by their employers and the experts on the set who have been hired by the production company to ensure safety.

Richard Main

Well I guess the lawyers and industry people are already getting their defense put together. BTW, do you also excuse the AD who handed Alec the unsafe gun? Or the "Armorer"? No one at fault. eh? Just Sh**t happens? Do you know how to safely unload a semi-automatic (not a revolver as in this case)? Just curious.

Brent Lambert

@Richard. It's clear there is fault or this could not have happened. Your statement was about pinning the fault on Baldwin. You completely made up the argument "No one at fault. eh?" Do you understand what you did there? You completely made up a statement and inference that nobody said or inferred except you. You should be ashamed of yourself. What's wrong with you? What do you mean, "Well I guess the lawyers and industry people are already getting their defense put together."? Clearly there is liability and maybe criminal negligence. Of course lawyers would be involved. There is no other way around that with such a case. There will certainly be some kind of settlement. What do you think happens after an event like this?

Richard Main

How did that policy work out in "The Crow" with Lee? Or on the "Rust" set? BTW, I personally feel badly for Alec. Primarily it is NOT his fault.

Brent Lambert

You say he should have asked the Armorer to show him the gun was in safe condition. He was explicitly told it was a "cold gun". That means it has been checked by someone with much more knowledge about gun safety and has been deemed to be in safe condition....not an actor who may think they know something about guns, but a gun expert. The actor is doing what their employers want them to do, rehearse, perform actions and act with a prop that the production has deemed safe.

Richard Main

No substitute for common sense, "how it's done" is no excuse.

Joe Brownrigg

Is the last sentence in the article significant? i've wondered about this, but all the reporting has been blank.

Brent Lambert

For those that think this is the actor's fault, that is not how it works on a set. Actors are not gun experts. Actors are not trained to examine guns and have any kind of understanding of what they are looking at. Does this casing contain a bullet? Is that a special-effects blank? Is the gun clean enough and the barrel free of debris? Did the actor reset the gun properly after opening it and not mess up the load? Does this trigger work properly? Everyone on set relies on the gun/weapons "expert" to provide safe props. That is why that very specific job exists. An actor may be required to push a button to cause an explosion, but the actor is not responsible for, nor do they have the knowledge to check, and be fussing with, the explosive's wiring to make sure it's going to function properly, nor go off too soon, etc. Here is a video of a knowledgable person discussing this. You do not need a TikTok account. Hover over the little video screen and a play button will appear in the bottom-left of that smaller screen. https://www.tiktok.com/foryou?is_copy_url=1&is_from_webapp=v1&item_id=7021963570355195183#/@tizzyent/video/7021963570355195183

Kirk Holmes

"Actors are not gun experts"? Then they should NEVER be allowed to handle a weapon without proper safety training - period. This actor is culpable for what had happened for not educating himself.

Richard Reinders

If you make a living from shoot em up movies where you handle a gun every on a regular basis over 30 or 40 years you should probably be required to be a fire arm specialist because it is your job, much like being a cop or soldier.

Brent Lambert

There is reason it is called acting. An actor may be trained in the movements of police or military, but that is a far cry from actual weapons training. Again, an actor is provided something that the experts on set are required to deem safe. With all the cop shows, murder investigation shows, etc, etc, actors from all walks of life rely on the experts to give them safe equipment/props. There is purposefully a division of labor that gun experts are on set and responsible. If you are arguing for a different protocol, then fine. You cannot blame actors who have been taught to NOT mess with opening up guns for inspection. They aren't considered qualified and it is the gun experts responsibility.

Brent Lambert

No, they are not experts. Not anymore than a school bus driver is an expert on brake inspections. Actors are not responsible for gun education for a prop that is not even supposed to be able to kill someone. Again, that is why there is an expert on set. It is that gun expert's and production's responsibility to educate the actor on what they are supposed to know/do and to provide the safe working conditions.

Kirk Holmes

Bottom line, loaded or unloaded, the actor failed to keep the prop weapon “pointed in a safe direction” - at all times. Had he done so, this tragedy very simply would never have happened. Unless of course the script called for him to aim at center body mass of the victim and pull the trigger. Very doubtful.

Richard Main

Your comparisons are all wrong. In wired explosions you cannot see if it is safe. School busses, cannot see the brake lines, master cylinder and etc. A REVOLVER, it's all there right in front of you. Just LOOK!

Brent Lambert

@Richard. Re-read the numerous explanations of how things work on a set. You don't think they have prop guns with fake casings in them to look like they're loaded? He was explicitly told it was a safe, "cold gun".

Brent Lambert

@Kirk Holmes. I really don't know why you are making so many assumptions like they are fact, without hearing an official report? If the camera was to be from the point-of-view of the person he was "shooting", he would have been aiming in such a way. If they were rehearsing, the director may very well have asked him to go through the complete motions/actions and aim in a specific way for camera. We know that "cold gun" was called out as the gun was handed to Baldwin. That means it has been checked by a gun expert, can not fire, and is deemed safe. Do you not see the fault with the armorer/props person or the person who handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe? Why you are fixated on blaming Baldwin is beyond me.

Kirk Holmes

I’m an obvious proponent of, and “fixated” on, …… gun safety. Yes, by initial reports, other members of the prop team terribly failed in safety protocol, but they were not in “possession” of the weapon when it discharged. Gun Safety and personal responsibility should not be “beyond anyone”.

Richard Main

Rehearsal? No need to pull the trigger.

Kirk Allison

You know, Kirk, I wouldn't want to be on a range, on a set, or on a street with any of these apologists in possession of a firearm.

Brent Lambert says there's a reason it's called acting, as if that somehow absolves an "actor" from being responsible. We know that is positively wrong.

Come on, people, there are only four basic rules of gun safety, and they aren't that hard to learn. Even Alec Baldwin could do it if he'd care to step out of his elitist bubble. Knowing these should be *required* for any "actor" that holds a firearm as part of their job.

And if Hollywood needs the latitude of having someone point a gun directly into the camera, then there should be additional special safety precautions for such instances.

Bottom line, the person pulling the trigger is, without question, the final safety check in a string of safety checks.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup][thumbup]

Kirk Allison

To the media, at the SFNM and beyond: Please stop calling this "accidental" and a "misfire." It is neither. The bullet was fired, and and the act was negligent.

As Richard Reinders said, anyone handling the gun is responsible for its safe condition. That applies especially to the person who is going to be pulling the trigger.

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

Richard Reinders

Is it nonunion peoples fault or the people that brought them on set and rushed the process. And anyone handling the gun especially the actor has a responsibility to check and double check. There is plenty of blame to go around. This is a tragic consequence of a rushed process. RIP

Khal Spencer

[thumbup]

Kirk Holmes

[thumbup]

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