Alec Baldwin film set had previous accidental gun discharges, say crew

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ALBUQUERQUE (NYTIMES/REUTERS) - There were at least two accidental gun discharges on the set of an Alec Baldwin movie being filmed in New Mexico days before he fatally shot the cinematographer last Thursday (Oct 21), according to three former members of the film's crew.

The discharges occurred on Oct 16, the former crew members said, prompting a complaint to a supervisor about the safety practices on the set, which was outside Santa Fe.

The crew members, who asked not to be named out of fear that their future employment in the industry could be affected, were among several workers who quit, just hours before the fatal shooting, over complaints about unpaid work and working conditions on the production.

The disclosures, which were first reported by the Los Angeles Times, are focusing scrutiny on concerns over loosely followed protocols and labour strife between producers and crew members during the production of the movie, Rust, a low-budget film about a 19th century accidental killing and its aftermath.

The movie's producers, who include Baldwin, contended in a statement on Friday that they had not been told about the safety issues.

Baldwin was handed what was described as a safe "cold gun", but the prop gun contained live rounds when it was fired, according to details of the police investigation into the fatal shooting released on Friday.

The shot hit cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest, and director Joel Souza who was behind her, in the shoulder.

Mr Souza said in a statement last Saturday that he was "gutted" by the loss of Ms Hutchins, writing that she was "kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch and always pushed me to be better".

Ms Hutchins' husband, Mr Matt Hutchins, wrote in a tweet last Friday night that his wife "inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words".

About 200 people gathered in downtown Albuquerque last Saturday night for a candlelight vigil to remember Hutchins.

The extended Baldwin clan has also come out in support on social media.

Alec Baldwin's younger brother, actor Stephen Baldwin, asked his followers to keep his sibling and those on the set in their prayers, while Alec Baldwin's daughter, Ireland Baldwin, sent out "love and support" to Hutchins' friends and famiy, and "healing thoughts" to Souza.

Alec Baldwin's niece, Hailey Bieber, also took to Instagram Stories to write: "This is a truly unimaginable and devastating tragedy."

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