FREMONT, Calif. - Actor Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of a Western movie, killing the cinematographer and injuring the director, who is a Fremont native.
Joel Souza, 48. was wounded in the Thursday afternoon shooting and is now being treated at a nearby hospital.
Souza was born in Fremont and still lives in the Bay Area with his wife and two children.
Souza directed the 2019 film, Crown Vic, which followed the life of a Los Angeles police officer tracking two people who had killed other law enforcement officers.
Baldwin was the producer of that film, as well.
Authorities are investigating how the deadly shooting occurred. Aside from injuring Souza, Baldwin killed Halyna Hutchins, who was the cinematographer on the movie "Rust," which they were filming in the desert on the southern outskirts of Santa Fe.
A spokesperson for Baldwin said there was an accident involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks. Santa Fe County Sheriff’s spokesman Juan Rios said detectives were investigating what type of projectile was discharged and how. No immediate charges were filed.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Baldwin of was seen Thursday outside the sheriff’s office in tears, but attempts to get comment from him were unsuccessful. The 63-year-old actor is known for his roles in "30 Rock" and "The Hunt for Red October" as well as his impression of former President Donald Trump on "Saturday Night Live."
Prop guns fire blanks, gunpowder charges that produce a flash and a bang but not a hard projectile. But when the trigger is pulled, the paper or plastic wadding is ejected from the barrel with enough force that it can be lethal at close range, as proved to be the case in the death of an actor in 1984. In another on-set accident in 1993, the actor Brandon Lee was killed after a bullet was left in a prop gun.
Production was halted on "Rust." The movie is about a 13-year-old boy who is left to fend for himself and his younger brother following the death of their parents in 1880s’ Kansas, according to the Internet Movie Database website. The teen goes on the run with his long-estranged grandfather (played by Baldwin) after the boy is sentenced to hang for the accidental killing of a local rancher.
In 1993, Brandon Lee, son of martial arts star Bruce Lee, died after being hit by a .44-caliber slug while filming a death scene for the movie "The Crow." The gun was supposed to have fired a blank, but an autopsy turned up a bullet lodged near his spine.
In 1984, actor Jon-Erik Hexum died after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun blank while pretending to play Russian roulette with a .44 Magnum on the set of the television series "Cover Up."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.