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(Credit: Paramount Pictures)

Film

Criminal charges are a real possibility over fatal shooting on ‘Rust’ set

The world has been trying to figure out what exactly happened on the set of the upcoming western Rust for a week now. Early reports indicated that famous actor Alec Baldwin had misfired a prop gun which resulted in the death of one individual and seriously injured another. As the investigation has proceeded, more details about the debacle have come to light.

“The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography, and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor,” the official statement said.

Adding, “Ms Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St Vincent regional medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.”

Due to the increased media attention, many professionals have voiced their concerns about the safety issues on film sets. The production company responsible for Rust has been blamed for terrible labour practices, with a petition led by Xander Berkeley calling for a ban on all real firearms on movie productions in the future.

“We need to make sure that this avoidable tragedy never happens again. There is no excuse for something like this to happen in the 21st century,” Berkeley said. “Real guns are no longer needed on film production sets. This isn’t the early ’90s, when Brandon Lee was killed in the same manner. Change needs to happen before additional talented lives are lost.”

The case appeared to be an accident at first but it is now reported that criminal charges might be on the table. “It was a legit gun,” district attorney Carmack-Altwies claimed, denying reports that Baldwin had fired a ‘prop gun’ in the accident. “It was an antique, era-appropriate gun… Everything at this point, including criminal charges, is on the table.”

The production of Rust has naturally come to a standstill, with police forces leading an investigation revolving around the film’s weapons specialist and the assistant director who gave the gun to Baldwin.