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Fatal Prop Gun Shootings Like Alec Baldwin’s Are Rare—But Deaths On Set Happen

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at October 22, 2021


Fatal shootings involving prop guns—like the one that Alec Baldwin discharged while on set Thursday, killing crew member Halyna Hutchins—are rare, though they’ve happened before, as have many more Hollywood-related deaths on set. 

Key Facts

Brandon Lee, the son of actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, was killed in 1993 when a prop gun that was mistakenly filled with rubber bullets fired at him while filming The Crow.

Jon-Erik Hexum died in 1984 after shooting himself in the head with a prop gun while filming a scene for the show Cover Up: the gun contained no bullets, but the force from the gunpowder was so strong it killed him. 

Guns are not the only killers: Stunt woman Joi Harris died in 2017 while filming Deadpool 2 when she lost control of a motorcycle.

In 2014 camera assistant Sarah Jones died when a freight train crashed into the crew while filming Midnight Rider, according to USA Today.

John Suttles died after falling backwards and fracturing his skull on the set of Avengers in 2011.

Big Number

43. That’s how many people have died since 1990 on TV or film sets, according to a 2016 Associated Press report. 150 have suffered life-altering injuries.

Crucial Quote

“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,” a Twitter account in Brandon’s name run by his sister Shannon posted on Friday.

Key Background

On Thursday, Baldwin discharged a prop gun on set that killed Hutchins, the director of photography, and injured director Joel Souza. Baldwin was Thursday photographed outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Department, where the production was filming, and a press release from the authorities said that witnesses were being questioned. No charges have been filed yet. On Friday, the prop workers union International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 44 sent an internal email to staff saying that the gun Baldwin discharged contained “live ammo,” according to IndieWire.

Further Reading

“There Are No Words”: Baldwin Tweets After Shocking Fatal Prop Gun Blast. Here’s What We Know (Forbes) 

Prop Gun Fired By Alec Baldwin On Set Of Movie ‘Rust’ Leaves One Dead, One Hospitalized (Forbes)


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