Alec Baldwin set shooting: Accidental death of Jon-Erik Hexum remembered in wake of Rust tragedy

Actor and model died aged 26 of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head

Annabel Nugent
Friday 22 October 2021 16:09 BST
Alec Baldwin shooting: Aerial shots of film set after prop gun misfired, killing cinematographer
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The story of Jon-Erik Hexum’s death has resurfaced after a gun “discharged” by Alec Baldwin killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Western film Rust.

Hutchins and Baldwin were among those on set filming at the Bonanza Creek Ranch on Thursday afternoon (21 October) when the incident occurred.

The sheriff’s office revealed that two people had been shot, including 42-year-old cinematographer Hutchins, who was taken to the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter, where she died.

Rust director Joel Souza was also injured in the accidental shooting. He has now been discharged from Christus St Vincent’s hospital.

Authorities have since confirmed that it was Baldwin who “discharged” the gun.

In the wake of the shocking news, many people have remembered Jon-Erik Hexum who died in 1984 in an on-set accident.

Aged 26, Hexum – known for his lead role in Voyagers! – died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The New Jersey-born actor and model had been filming scenes in the TV series Cover Up, in which he starred as Mac Harper, when the fatal accident occurred.

According to Paul Connelley’s book Fade to Black: A Book of Movie Obituaries, Hexum had been bored on set when he picked up the prop gun as a joke.

Using the prop .44 Magnum handgun, which was loaded with a blank round, he spun the chamber and put the gun to his temple. He proceeded to pull the trigger without realising that the weapon still contained gunpowder.

The force caused a fracture to his skull and drove a segment of bone the size of a coin into his brain, causing massive haemorrhaging. He was rushed to the hospital where he underwent hours of surgery.

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Six days after the accident on 18 October, the actor was declared braindead. His organs were donated to multiple people, saving their lives.

Per a 1994 Entertainment Weekly article, on the day of the accident Hexum had reportedly learned there would be further delays to the show’s filming schedule, prompting him to put the gun to his head and joke, “can you believe this crap?” before pulling the trigger.

As well as Hexum, Brandon Lee’s name has also trended on social media following the Rust shooting. Lee died on the set of The Crow as a result of a prop gun accident.

The actor – the son of late action star Bruce Lee – died aged 28 in 1993 after an actor fired a prop gun that he believed was loaded with blanks.

It was later discovered that a fragment of a dummy shell had been left in the gun’s barrel. Lee died in hospital following hours of surgery.

Lee’s family has spoken out following news of the Rust incident that resulted in the death of Hutchins and the injury of director Souza.

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