Actor Alec Baldwin has spoken publicly for the first time since the accidental fatal shooting of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Western film Rust, calling it a “one in a trillion episode”.
The actor and his wife, Hilaria, stopped to speak to reporters on a roadside in Vermont, and while Baldwin said he could not comment on the ongoing investigation, he revealed Ms Hutchins was “my friend”.
“We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened,” Baldwin said.
“A woman died. She was my friend… When I arrived in Santa Fe to start shooting, I took her to dinner.”
Ms Hutchins, 42, was killed and director Joel Souza was wounded after a gun Baldwin was holding discharged with a single live round on the set of Rust in New Mexico on 21 October.
Baldwin had been told the gun was safe and it remains unclear how live ammunition found its way on to the set.
The actor said he is cooperating with police as the investigation continues, but declined to comment further.
Baldwin said he is in “constant contact” with Ms Hutchins’ husband and son, who he said are “mortified”.
“The guy is overwhelmed with grief. There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time but nothing like this,” Baldwin said.
“This is a one in a trillion event. He is in shock, he has a nine-year-old son. We are in constant contact with him ’cause we are very worried about him and his family.
“We are eagerly waiting for the sheriff’s department to tell us what their investigation has yielded.”
Baldwin went on to say he supports limits on the use of real guns in films and TV shows to protect people’s safety on set, and thinks production of Rust will not start again.
Police in New Mexico said earlier this week that there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the movie set, but it is too early to determine whether charges will be filed.
Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza has said 500 rounds of ammunition – a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds – were found while searching the set.
Detectives have recovered a lead projectile they believe the actor fired.
Testing is being done to confirm whether the projectile taken from Mr Souza’s shoulder was fired from the same long Colt revolver used by Baldwin.