Before Alec Baldwin shot and killed Halyna Houtchins, his movie crew were already concerned about gun safety. They had walked out of Baldwin’s set hours before her death after complaining about long hours and poor conditions. 

According to multiple social media posts from film and TV industry insiders, the workers were complaining that they had to spend the night in Albuquerque instead of Sante Fe. This was because production wouldn’t pay for their hotels. 

They found out that locals had replaced them when they showed up to clean their belongings on Thursday. 

It begs the question: Who were these local workers? What was their training? To what extent did they check the weapon prior to giving it to Baldwin, who is suspected to have loaded it possibly with a live round. 

Deadline also cites a source unnamed who stated that a gun had been set off ‘in the cabin’ while it was being held in a cabin.

“A gun had misfired twice in a closed room. They just fired loud pops – a person was just holding it in their hands and it went off,’ they said.   

Rust Production LLC didn’t respond to’s repeated requests for comment on Friday regarding the incident. However, members of the union representing many of the crew involved in the production stated that they had expressed concerns about safety on-set. 

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An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown, left, yesterday outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office after accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, right. They were among few original workers on set after others walked off earlier in the day in a union row

An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown, left, yesterday outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office after accidentally shooting and killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, right. They were among few original workers on set after others walked off earlier in the day in a union row

Yesterday, Alec Baldwin, left, is seen crying outside Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office. He accidentally shot and killed Halyna Hutchins (right). After others left earlier in the day in union row, they were among the few original workers on set.

An aerial view of the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, where the movie was being filmed. Workers had been protesting over the fact production wouldn't pay for them to stay in hotels and motels in Sante Fe, instead forcing them to drive an hour to Albuquerque

An aerial view of Santa Fe’s Bonanza Creek Ranch where the movie was being made. Workers were protesting the fact that they wouldn’t be paid to stay in hotels or motels in Sante Fe. Instead they were forced to drive an entire hour to Albuquerque.   

Production of the film has stopped now in light of the tragedy. The Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department is investigating and 'collecting evidence', a spokesman said on Friday

In light of the tragedy, production of the film has been halted. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the incident and ‘collecting information’, a spokesperson said Friday 

Union members vented on social media before the tragedy about the poor conditions on the set of the film. They talked about having to sleep in their cars at the set rather than make the drive back to Albuquerque because they were too exhausted

Before the tragedy, union members vented on social networking about the terrible conditions on set. They talked about being too exhausted to drive back to Albuquerque from their cars and instead of sleeping in their cars.

This union was the one that had been threatened with a strike to protest poor working conditions, including low pay and lax safety. IATSE Local 44, whose members were involved with the Rust production, issued a statement to its members stating that no union members were present on the set on Thursday.   


Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate the circumstances surrounding Hutchins’ death and that of the director’s injury. However, past accidents involving guns on sets for movies offer a variety of possibilities as to what could have caused the tragedy. 

Baldwin fired the gun with a squib load, which means that something was in the barrel.

Baldwin may have used a prop gun to keep an object from getting stuck in its barrel. It’s also known as a squibload, which is when a cartridge doesn’t fire from the barrel due to the gas not being strong enough to push it out. 

It is not dangerous by itself and can be fixed if it is safely cleared. However, if someone keeps firing shots from the same gun – whether live or not – it can be extremely dangerous. 

A second shot behind the stuck round can cause the weapon’s explosion or injure anyone in its vicinity. 

An accidental load of a real bullet, or a part of one, was made, and it was not a blank. 

Baldwin was immediately shocked to find out why he had been given a “hot” gun. This meant that it contained live bullets. 

This is exactly what happened during the 1993 filming of actor Brandon Bruce Lee at The Crow. 

While the gun was believed to have been loaded with blanks by those on set, an autopsy revealed that a.44 caliber cartridge was found near Lee’s spine. 

Police recovered the dummy shell cases from the set. 

A dummy, which is different from a blank, looks just like a live round, with a bullet at its tip. 

The difference between live rounds and blanks is the tip of the cartridge where the lethal bullet is contained is not there on a blank. Sometimes they are replaced with cotton or paper. Dummy bullets, unlike blanks, look like ordinary bullets but aren't meant to contain the metal bullet tip either

The difference between live rounds or blanks is that the tip of a cartridge where the lethal shot is contained is not present on a blank. Sometimes they are replaced by cotton or paper. Dummy bullets look like regular bullets but don’t contain the metal bullet tip. 

Blast from the Blank struck something else on set

It is possible that the blank hit another object, damaged it and sent pieces flying towards Hutchins. 

Rhys Muldoon, who has used guns on sets many times and believes even blanks can be dangerous, speculated at this possibility telling the BBC: “This is a close-up of an actor firing a gun, very close to the frame, and then something has either fallen off the French Flag, or the black box, like a piece of the camera, and hit the director aswell.” 

However, experts in film say that even in these cases, there should be greater safeguards. 

‘If your face is in the line of flame… You would wear a face-mask, you would wear goggles, and you would stand behind Perspex screens to minimize the number people that are being photographed. 

‘What I don’t understand in this instance is how two people have been injured, one tragically killed, in the same event,’ Steven Hall, who has worked on films such as Fury and The Imitation Game, told BBC.  

One text message circulated on social media and shared by union members repeatedly, refers to a “walk out” by staff the day prior to the tragedy.   

According to the text message, Halyna was one among those who decided to stay. She was a member of IATSE Local 600, and had been fighting for better conditions for her team at the time she was killed. 

One person involved in the production shared the news via social media that they had been sleeping in their cars on the set of the movie because they were too tired after the long days. 

The movie has a smaller budget than other productions. One experienced prop master turned down the job because it didn’t pay enough. 

Zak Knight, a pyrotechnics and special effects engineer, told that he had heard from others that there was a walkout. 

‘It’s very possible that the union members said “we’re out”, and they brought in people to fill the positions on the fly. There is a lot of gray area.

He also suggested that California and New Mexico have different gun laws, which may have contributed to the accident. California requires both a trained armorer as well as a prop master to work on a set. These are the standards that the union follows.

‘You will find the best and most well-trained individuals in Los Angeles. You can’t guarantee that as you go across the country,’ he told on Friday.

IATSE threatened a large-scale strike that could have crippled Hollywood productions in the days preceding the tragedy. Poor rates and overwork were some of the complaints. Baldwin recorded a video of himself encouraging the union members to strike if they felt they needed to, saying studio bosses ‘don’t give a f**k about you’, that the union shared online.

‘There’s a direct correlation between maintaining a safe set and the hours that we work. At a certain time there’s no such thing as a safe set if we’re all exhausted,’ Knight, a special effects artist, said. 

Whatever happened in the moments leading up to her death, Knight said it was caused by a ‘cascade of failures’ by multiple people.

“We have a firm rule that no live ammunition should ever be loaded into a prop truck, set, or vehicle at any time. It’s just not possible. 

‘If you see bullets on set they are complete dummy rounds and are in no way functional. This is Brandon Lee. There is protocol. 

‘There should have never been live rounds on a movie set, that’s number one. Number two is every single person on a movie set has a right to inspect a weapon before it’s fired. Number three is that it is illegal to put anyone in front of a weapon firing.

“A barrel pointed down the lens of a movie should be seen without an operator. It’s clear that the gun was pointed directly towards two people because of these considerations.

“We would have also had a barrier between the two of them. 

He said that “a lot of people failed to follow our protocols… every incident is a cascade,’ 

Daily Mail was told daily by a Santa Fe prop man that the tragedy wouldn’t have happened if Baldwin had properly checked the gun before it was handed over to him. 

‘If they’d done their job checking the weapon this wouldn’t have happened. You show the assistant director the weapon, you show the actor the weapon, you show everybody it’s a safe weapon. There’s a big chain of command that missed an opportunity to save a life.’

Rust Productions LLC has opened a formal investigation into the incident, but won’t comment on specific details. 

A spokesperson for the Sante Fe County Sheriff Department stated that Friday afternoon, “The investigation remains active” and “open.” Witnesses are still being interviewed and evidence continues to be collected. 

Baldwin, 63 years old, tweeted Friday afternoon to confirm that he had spoken with victim’s husband and was fully cooperating with law enforcement. 

“It is difficult to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident that claimed Halyna Hutchins’s life, a wife, mother, and dear colleague. 

“I am fully cooperating with police to investigate how this tragedy occurred. I am in touch and offering my support to her husband and his family. 

He said, “My heart is broken for her husband and their son, as well as all those who knew and loved Halyna,”

After speaking with the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, he was seen looking in pain on Thursday. 

The workers were angry that they weren't being put up in Sante Fe, the town nearest the ranch where they were shooting, and instead were being told to drive every night to Albuquerque after long shifts. Some said they were sleeping in their cars at the set to avoid it

They were upset that they weren’t being put up in Sante Fe (the nearest town to the ranch where they were filming) and were instead being told they had to drive every night to Albuquerque following long shifts. Some workers claimed they were sleeping in cars at the set to avoid it. 

Baldwin and Hutchins (circled) are pictured together on the set of Rust, in an image that she uploaded to Instagram two days ago saying the crew of the film were supporting a strike by the IATSE union

Baldwin and Hutchins (circled), are seen together on the set for Rust in an Instagram photo she posted two days ago that said the crew of Rust were supporting a strike of the IATSE union.

Alec Baldwin is seen on the set of Rust with fake blood earlier Thursday, hours before he shot and killed the film's cinematographer. He shared this photo on Instagram with the caption "Back to in person at the office. Blimey¿it¿s exhausting." Filming was halted following the fatal incident at the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set in Santa Fe

Hutchins' social media shows she was married to Matthew (pictured together), a Los Angeles-based lawyer. It is unclear when the pair married, but they have a son who was born either in late 2012 or early 2013

Matthew Hutchins, Matthew’s husband, told exclusively on Friday: “I have spoken to Alec Baldwin. He is very supportive’  

The Baldwin family's nanny was pictured packing up their SUV outside the family's NYC home on Friday but there was no sign of the actor's wife Hilaria

The Baldwin family’s Nanny was seen packing up their SUV outside their NYC home on Friday. Hilaria, the actor’s spouse, was not visible. 

Baldwin's wife Hilaria posted this screenshot of them FaceTiming on Thursday before the tragedy

Baldwin’s wife Hilaria posted this photo of them FaceTiming the day before the tragedy. 

Matthew Hutchins, Hutchins’ husband in grief, told Friday morning that he had spoken to the actor. 

Alec Baldwin said that he had spoken to him and was very supportive.  

Baldwin was heard asking others around him why he was given a “hot gun”. 

‘In all my years, I’ve never been handed a hot gun,’ he was heard saying. 

Jensen Ackles, actor from Denver, shared his story at a Denver conference about how he was able ‘choose” his gun from a female armorer in a haphazard session.

 ‘They had me pick my gun. They were like, “Alright, what gun would you like?” I was like, “I don’t know”, and the armorer was like, “Do you have gun experience?” I was like, “A little”, she was like, “This is how you load it…check it’s safe. Do you want it hip drawn or cross drawn?” I was like “cross drawn, that sounds fun”.’

‘So she’s like, “I’ll just put some blanks in there and just fire a couple of rounds towards the hill.”

‘I walk out and she’s like, “Just make sure you pull the hammer all the way back and aim at your target”. 

‘I was like alright I got it,’ he said. The female armorer was not named. 

Baldwin’s current location is unknown. On Friday, there was no sign of Baldwin’s wife, Hilaria, but a nanny was seen loading up their SUV.

According to a press release, the production had ’73 New Mexican actors and 22 New Mexico principal actors’ as well as 230 New Mexico background talents, according to an earlier press release. 

According to the prop masters’ union email, the ‘Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members’ – none of whom belonged to the union.  

Actor Jensen Ackles told last month how he'd received haphazard gun training on the film set. He talked about being able to choose his own gun, and how the unnamed female armorer loaded it with blanks then shot it at a hill before asking him how he'd like to draw the weapon and then letting him shoot

Actor Jensen Ackles told last month how he'd received haphazard gun training on the film set. He talked about being able to choose his own gun, and how the unnamed female armorer loaded it with blanks then shot it at a hill before asking him how he'd like to draw the weapon and then letting him shoot

Jensen Ackles, actor, shared his story about how he had received haphazard gun training while on set for the film. He spoke about being able choose his gun and how the unnamed female armourer loaded it with blanks, shot it at a hill, before asking him how he would like to draw it and then letting him take the picture. Below is a photo he took from the set. 

An image taken on the set of Rust shows cast and crew members receiving a safety briefing before filming stunts. The image was uploaded to Instagram a week ago

This image was taken on Rust’s sets and shows crew members and cast members receiving safety briefings prior to filming stunts. The image was uploaded to Instagram one week ago

IATSE had threatened a large-scale strike that could have crippled Hollywood productions in the days preceding the tragedy.

Overworked staff and low wages were some of the complaints. Baldwin recorded a video of himself encouraging the union members to strike if they felt they needed to, saying studio bosses ‘don’t give a f**k about you’, that the union shared online. 

This tragedy recalls the 1993 accident on The Crow’s set, where Bruce Lee’s son Brandon was killed and shot by a fellow actor. 

Although the film crew believed that the gun was loaded only with blanks and dummy bullets, an autopsy revealed that Lee had a.44 caliber cartridge lodged in his spine. Investigators also looked into the possibility that a dummy cartridge had become stuck in the barrel prior to the second round was fired. This is a known danger in shooting that can cause serious injuries and even death. 

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.  

Alec Baldwin tragedy leaves a ‘kind and loving cinematographer’ dead: Ukraine-born Halyna Houtchins, 42, was raised by a Soviet military base, surrounded with nuclear submarines, and trained as a journalist. She was also a rising star in Hollywood.

Sun streaming from above, Halyna Houtchins smiles at the camera while she films herself riding into the New Mexico desert on horseback.

This was the last Instagram photo that the mother-of-one, a married mother-of-1, shared before Alec Baldwin accidentally shot a prop gun during a scene he was filming for a Western on a ranch near Santa Fe.

Halyna was born in Ukraine, raised on a Soviet military base “surrounded by reindeer, nuclear submarines”, and had previously been trained as a journalist. She spent time in Europe working for British documentaries before moving to Los Angeles, where her career had been established and she had started a family. 

Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback. This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for upcoming Western, Rust, yesterday

Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base 'surrounded by reindeer and submarines', Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short. Pictured, in 2018

Halyna was born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military bases’surrounded by reindeer, submarines, and submarines’. She was about to embark on a project in Ireland but was set for a bright future in Hollywood after her tragic death. Pictured in 2018.

Her social media profiles also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, many of whom have been paying tribute. Pictured, a touching post by close friend Stephanie

Her social media profiles show a clear portrait of a fun-loving, free-spirited friend, many of whom have paid tribute. A touching post from Stephanie, a close friend

Friends recall Halyna as a kind’ and ‘loving soul’. She lived in Venice Beach with Matthew, a lawyer and their son Andros. 

“Halyna loved him so deeply and enjoyed watching him become the handsome boy that he is today,” one friend wrote in an emotional Instagram tribute. “I know she is looking after Matt in this horribly frightening time.

Halyna’s smile lights up social media photos with a sense of adventure and playfulness. 

She was highly respected by her peers and was regarded as a rising star by other cinematographers. Adam Mortimer, director, friend and colleague, stated that she was “absolutely dedicated to art, integrity, and her work.” “I could tell that she was going be a genius. 

Halya (right) on a visit back to Kiev in December 2018. She was raised on a military base in the country and later attended the National University of Kyiv, studying International Journalism

Halya (right), on a December 2018 visit to Kiev. She was born on a military base in Ukraine and went to school at the National University of Kyiv where she studied International Journalism.

Friends remember Halyna as a kind and loving soul. She lived in Venice Beach, California with Matthew, her husband, and their son Andros.

Baldwin, 62 years old, was filming a scene in Rust when the gun went off at 1.50pm. Hutchins was killed and Joel Souza, 48, was injured. The incident took place at at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Hutchins, who was in an air ambulance, was rushed to University of New Mexico Hospital. However, he was later declared dead. 

Souza was taken by ambulance from his home to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. Although his condition is unknown, he has been released.

Will Stewart, Daily Mail’s Moscow correspondent explained how Halyna worked for him during the mid-2000s. 

‘This is devastating and incomprehensible news about the death of Halyna Hutchins. After graduating from a local university with International Journalism, she worked for my news agency in Kyiv for several decades.

‘Halyna was involved in many stories for British newspapers and magazines, but she showed a special talent for documentaries, perhaps her first taste of film in which she went on to be so successful in America.

‘At this time while she was with us, in 2006, she was Associate Producer on a documentary for Discovery Channel on Ukrainian icon Leonid Stadnyk called World’s Tallest Man, made by British company Wild Pictures.

‘She was instrumental in Mr Stadnyk feeling at ease taking part in the documentary which focused on the problems of being exceptionally tall.

‘The film, made by leading British director Richard Denton, with former BBC Head of Documentaries Paul Hamann as executive producer, would not have happened without her.

‘Mr Stadnyk, a shy man, trusted Halyna after refusing many other film offers, and thanked her afterwards.

‘Pictures ahead of the film shows him towering over Halyna at his home in the village of Podoliantsy.

‘She later went to the US with her husband Matt and accomplished great things through her huge talent and creativity but also her relentless determination to study and learn.

‘She once told my Russian colleagues that she felt she was a perpetual student in America, but her efforts paid off and she achieved the success she thoroughly deserved.

‘It is tragic that she died in such a cruel and inexplicable way while doing the job she so loved.

‘Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and their son, and Halyna’s family in Ukraine.’

Richard Denton, producer behind Shakespeare Uncovered and many films in the former USSR, said today: “Halyna was the most wonderful, vital, lively and positive person to work with.

“She was friendly and extremely helpful. She handled everything from translating interviews to making Leonid’s horse move in the right direction.

“She was completely unpretentious, and incredibly professional.”

Her death was’senseless’ and’stupid’.