When news broke that a fatal shooting involving a prop gun occurred on the Santa Fe, New Mexico set of the Alec Baldwin film, Rust, many drew a connection to a similar tragedy that claimed the life of Brandon Lee during the production of the 1994 film, The Crow. Now, Shannon Lee — Brandon’s sister — has issued a statement through her sibling’s official Twitter account.
“Our hearts go out the family of Halyna Hutchins and to Joel Souza and all involved in the incident of on Rust,” she writes, referencing the film’s cinematographer and director respectively. “No one should ever be killed by a gun on a film set. Period.”
New details about the incident on the Rust set are still emerging, but a statement obtained by Yahoo Entertainment from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office states: “Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, 68, producer and actor.” Hutchins was taken by helicopter to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she later died. Souza was rushed to the Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center and was reportedly released overnight.
Brandon Lee’s 1993 death on the set of The Crow sent shockwaves through the film industry, and many voices online have expressed a mixture of shock and sorrow that history has appeared to repeat itself nearly thirty years later. The son of legendary martial arts star, Bruce Lee, the 28-year-old actor was filming a scene where his character Eric Draven — a musician who returns from the grave to avenge his lover’s murder — is shot by a street gang member.
According to contemporaneous reports, a prop gun that was used for the scene contained dummy bullets that had been improperly manufactured from live ammunition. During test firing, a bullet tip became lodged in the handgun barrel. That tip was later fired at Lee — who was not wearing a bulletproof vest — from less than twenty feet away and struck him in the abdomen. The actor was rushed to the hospital, where he died following six hours of emergency surgery. No criminal charges were ultimately brought against the production, and The Crow was later completed with Lee’s stunt double serving as a stand-in for his remaining scenes.
Lee’s tragic on-set death has remained a Hollywood cautionary tale about gun safety for almost three decades. And Shannon Lee’s statement has allowed fans to mourn his loss — along with the loss of Halyna Hutchins — all over again.