Alec Baldwin shooting: Rust film set electrician cradled Halyna Hutchins in his arms as she lay dying

‘I was holding her in my arms while she was dying,’ says Serge Svetnoy

Bevan Hurley
Monday 25 October 2021 18:55
'Vibrant' cinematographer remembered as police probe Baldwin shooting
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The chief electrician on the set of Rust has told how he cradled cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in his arms as she was bleeding to death.

Serge Svetnoy said standing “shoulder-to-shoulder” with Ms Hutchins when she was struck by a bullet fired from a prop gun on the Bonanza Creek Ranch film set just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico, at around 1.50pm on Thursday.

Alec Baldwin had been practising drawing the gun –which he believed to be an unloaded prop – across his body and pointing it at a camera when he fired it, hitting Ms Hutchins in the chest and also striking director Joel Souza, according to an affidavit released on Sunday.

Ms Hutchins, 42, was rushed to  the University of New Mexico Hospital by helicopter where she was pronounced dead.

In an emotional post on Facebook, Mr Svetnoy said he had worked closely with Ms Hutchins on nearly all of her films.

“Sometimes we’ve shared food and water. We’ve been burning under the sun, freezing in the snow on the shoots. We took care of each other,” he wrote.

“I was standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Halyna during this fatal shot that took her life and injured the director Joel Souza,” he wrote.

“I was holding her in my arms while she was dying. Her blood was on my hands.”

Mr Svetnoy paid tribute to camera operator Reid Russell and the film’s chief medic Cherlyn Schaefer “who did everything she could to save Halyna’s life”.

He added he was devastated for Ms Hutchins’ husband Matt and for Mr Baldwin, who would have to “live with the thought that he took the life” of another human.

“We all loved Halyna. May God Bless her soul. Rest in Peace.”

Film industry workers comfort one another at a vigil for Halyna Hutchins

According to an affidavit released by the Santa Fe authorities, the shooting took place in a church building on the set.

“Joel stated that they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw. Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of (Hutchins), when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop,” the affidavit states.

Ms Hutchins was shot in the chest area, said she was in pain and began to fall back, the document said.

Reid Russell, a camera operator, told authorities that Ms Hutchins was unable to feel her legs.

Several media reports have claimed that safety issues were raised on the set over issues including crew members’ pay and housing.

Mr Russell confirmed that six workers had walked off the site.

In a statement read to a candlelit vigil on Saturday, Matt Hutchins called his wife's death “an enormous loss”.

No one has been charged in relation to the shooting.

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