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Alec Baldwin not responsible for on-set shooting death of Halyna Hutchins, her father says

Actor Alec Baldwin consoles the husband and son of slain cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, as more reports of troubling on-set practices emerge and investigators focus attention on the film's armourer and assistant director.

Actor Alec Baldwin has been seen consoling the family of the cinematographer he accidentally killed on the set of his movie, as more reports emerge of troubling practices during the filming. 

Key points:
  • Ms Hutchins, a cinematographer, was fatally shot by Baldwin with a prop gun last Thursday
  • Her father says "props people", not Baldwin, are to blame for her death 
  • Attention has turned to the film's armourer as part of an ongoing police investigation

Baldwin was photographed visibly distraught outside a hotel in Santa Fe, New Mexico, embracing and talking with Matt Hutchins, the husband of Halyna Hutchins, and the couple's nine-year-old son Andros. 

On Friday, the 63-year-old said he was shocked and heartbroken at the death of Ms Hutchins. 

The 42-year-old cinematographer was killed and director Joel Souza wounded when Mr Baldwin discharged a prop gun he was handed, having been told it was not loaded, court documents said. 

But the gun was loaded with live rounds, according to details released on Friday. 

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In a statement read to a candlelight vigil overnight, Mr Hutchins said his wife's death was "an enormous loss".

About 200 gathered in Albuquerque for the vigil, which organisers said was to honour Ms Hutchins's memory, rather than focus on her death.

However, some people in the crowd held signs that read "Safety on set".

Hutchins's father blames 'props people'

Ms Hutchins's father, Anatoly Androsovych, spoke to UK media in the wake of his daughter's death and said he does not hold Baldwin responsible. 

Instead, Mr Androsovych blamed the film's "props people" who handed the actor the loaded gun which killed Ms Hutchins.

"We still can't believe Halyna is dead and her mother is going out of her mind with grief," Mr Androsovych told the Sun newspaper.

"But I don't hold Alec Baldwin responsible — it is the responsibility of the props people who handle the guns. [Halyna's son] has been very badly affected — he is lost without his mother."

Men in black face masks attend an evening vigil for Halyna Hutchins, holding bright orange candles beside a picture of her Men in black face masks attend an evening vigil for Halyna Hutchins, holding bright orange candles beside a picture of her
About 200 New Mexico residents attended a candlelight vigil to honour Ms Hutchins. (AP: Photo/Andres Leighton)

Svetlana Androsovych, Ms Hutchins's younger sister, went further, describing the on-set incident as negligence.

"How was this negligence allowed by such a team of professionals?" she said.

"God only knows what happened. It's just so incredibly hard to live through it.

The family is trying to organise a visa for Ms Hutchins's mother, Olga and Svetlana to enter the US. 

"The only thing we want right now is to be there with my mum and next to Halyna's husband and their son to make sure he feels our support."

Armourer, assistant director probed  

No-one has been charged in the fatal incident, but concerning reports about disregarded safety protocols on the set of the low-budget movie have emerged, as well as a reported walk-out by several crew members hours before the fatal shooting. 

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Court documents show the probe into what went wrong on the Rust set now includes the movie's armourer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, and assistant director Dave Halls.

Crew members told the Los Angeles Times about previous incidents involving prop guns. 

Mr Baldwin's stunt double accidentally fired two rounds from a prop firearm after being told it was "cold", an industry term meaning a weapon is not loaded, the newspaper reported. 

Rust Movie Productions said while they "were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down."

Former crew members speak out

The lethal prop gun was handed to Mr Baldwin by Mr Halls, who has more than 20 years of experience in the business, court documents revealed.

His reputation as a manager was defended in the Los Angeles Times by film producer Aaron B Koontz, who worked with Mr Halls on two previous movies. 

"Dave is extremely efficient and he's very good at keeping the pace going and moving at the speed you have to move at in order to make your days," Mr Koontz said.

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But special effects technician Maggie Goll, who worked with Mr Halls on 2017 Hulu television series Into the Dark, had a different experience. 

"He did not maintain a safe working environment," Ms Goll said. 

"Sets were almost always allowed to become increasingly claustrophobic, no established fire lanes, exits blocked … safety meetings were nonexistent." 

Ms Gutierrez-Reed, the movie's 24-year-old chief armourer, is also involved in the probe.

According to an affidavit filed by a Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office detective, Ms Gutierrez-Reed prepared three prop guns and placed them on a cart outside the building where rehearsals were taking place.

After the fatal shooting, Ms Gutierrez-Reed was given the gun and removed a spent casing before handing it to the authorities. 

A month before Thursday's fatal shooting, she spoke about her fear of being too inexperienced to work as head armourer, when she landed her first role on another western, The Old Way, starring Nicolas Cage. 

"I was really nervous about it at first, and I almost didn't take the job because I wasn't sure if I was ready, but doing it, it went really smoothly," Ms Gutierrez-Reed told the Voices of the West podcast. 

But her supervisor on the film, Jeffrey W Crow, said he was impressed by her. 

"Working with Hannah, I'm surprised that any of this happened under her watch," Mr Crow told the Los Angeles Times.

"I thought she was an exceptionally young, up-and-coming, very eager and talented armourer."

Mr Halls and Ms Gutierrez-Reed did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday.

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Aerial footage of film set where incident took place

ABC/Reuters 

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