Director Joel Souza Releases Statement Following Halyna Hutchins' Accidental Death

Earlier this week came the tragic news about an accident on the set of the Alec Baldwin-starring film Rust wherein a live round was reportedly placed inside of a firearm that was to be used in a shot which was discharged and fatally injured director of photography Halyna Hutchins while also harming writer/director Joel Souza. Days later Souza has been discharged from the hospital after having his injuries treated and has released a statement about the tragedy and the accidental death of Hutchin. "I am gutted by the loss of my friend and colleague, Halyna," he wrote. "She was kind, vibrant, incredibly talented, fought for every inch, and always pushed me to be better."

Souza's statement continued, "My thoughts are with her family at this most difficult time. I am humbled and grateful by the outpouring of affection we have received from our filmmaking community, the people of Santa Fe, and the hundreds of strangers who have reached out..... It will surely aid in my recovery." A statement from the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department after the incident confirmed the reports that Hutchins and Souza were injured by the firearm after it was discharged by Baldwin, who reportedly was unaware that it contained a live round.

Halyna's husband Matt also released a statement following the passing of his wife, writing in a series of Tweets: "Halyna inspired us all with her passion and vision, and her legacy is too meaningful to encapsulate in words. Our loss is enormous, and we ask that the media please respect my family's privacy as we process our grief. We thank everyone for sharing images and stories of her life. Thank you to Halyna's friends and mentors at AFI for establishing a scholarship to honor her memory and support aspiring female cinematographers. Anyone seeking to honor her memory, please direct your giving to this fund."

A scholarship in Hutchins' name has already been set up by the American Film Institute.

What transpired on the set is still being investigated but reports of the film's crew making complaints about unsafe working conditions, and reportedly being replaced just ahead of the accident by non-union crew, have begun to appear online. Production on the film was taking place in Santa Fe, New Mexico with the Santa Fe Sheriff's Department, among other entities, continuing their investigation.

Alec Baldwin previously released a statement on the incident as while, writing:

"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 to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna."

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(H/T Deadline)

(Cover Photo by Mat Hayward/Getty Images for AMC Networks)