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Ukrainian-Born Cinematographer Killed On Film Set By Prop Gun Fired By Alec Baldwin

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Alec Baldwin has not commented on the incident, but U.S. media reported he appeared distraught after emerging from the police station where he was questioned. (file photo)

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins has been killed, and a movie director injured, after Hollywood star Alec Baldwin discharged a prop firearm on the set of a Western they were filming in New Mexico.

Local police said Hutchins, 42, died from a gunshot wound late on October 21 after being flown to a nearby hospital , while director Joel Souza was taken to a hospital but his condition was not immediately known.

Police questioned Baldwin and others on the set of the movie, titled Rust, but no charges have been laid. They added that deputies were still trying to determine whether what happened was an accident.

In a series of messages on Twitter, Baldwin said that his heart was broken by the tragic incident.

"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," he wrote on Twitter. "My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

Hutchins' website says she was born in Ukraine and grew up on a Soviet military base in the Arctic Circle "surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines."

She held a graduate degree in international journalism from Kyiv National University and had previously worked as an investigative journalist with British documentary productions in Europe.

She was also the director of photography of the art-house superhero action film Archenemy. Her other movie credits include the racially charged police drama Blindfire and Darlin', a horror feature film.

"The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones," production company Rust Movie Productions said in a statement.

"We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation," it added.

The 63-year-old Baldwin, who has won several acting awards, is one of the film's stars as well as a producer.

The incident evoked memories of the 1993 death of 28-year-old actor Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, who was fatally wounded by a prop gun while filming The Crow.

Lee's sister, Shannon, decried the incident in a tweet, while also calling for better protection measures on film sets.

“Our hearts go out to the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident on ‘Rust’. No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period,” she wrote.

With reporting by NBC News, Variety, and Reuters
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