On Thursday, October 21, at the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, during the filming of a movie, “Rust”, produced by and starring actor, Alec Baldwin, the unthinkable happened. While filming a scene, Alec Baldwin, portraying the main character, Harland Rust, pulled out a “prop” gun and fired at the camera, as per the script direction. Sadly, as found out in later investigation by the Santa Fe Police Department, the gun was loaded with real bullets, which resulted in the death of Film Cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.
The news coverage for this tragedy has been endless. Baldwin’s team lawyered up, Hannah Gutierrez Reed, the “Expert Armorer”, who vouchsafed the gun as “safe” lawyered up, and the mainstream media have been confusing opinion for fact. There are hundreds of press stories out there asking a fundamental question: “Why?” However, the answers to this question thus far are not complete and not overly factual.
The first tool in the Investigator’s Mental Toolbox is the simplest, and the most helpful. The fundamental questions of “Who? What? When? Where? Why? and How?” The criminal and civil investigations being performed by the Santa Fe PD, by the film’s Liability Insurance Carrier, as well as those Investigators working for the parties aggrieved and/or involved, are looking at this shooting from all conceivable angles. This article will concentrate on one of the questions in the Toolbox, which is a fundamentally important question to ask: Who?
Halyna Hutchins, (maiden name: Androsovych), was born in 1979 behind the Iron Curtain of the Soviet Union. She grew up in the former Soviet city of Murmansk on a military base where her father was stationed there as part of the Russian Navy.
As a young adult, she attended school at the Kyiv National University where she graduated with a degree in international journalism. Her career track in Eastern Europe made her name synonymous with documentary investigative journalism.
She met her husband, Matthew Hutchins, in the city of Kyiv and got married in 2010. Shortly thereafter, she gave birth to a son, the couple’s only child.
Upon moving to the United States, to the bright lights of Los Angeles, CA, she graduated from the American Film Institute Conservatory in 2015, so she could continue the work she started in Eastern Europe. Her hard work and dedication paid off. As reported in “American Cinematographer”,
“In 2019, she was named one of the “10 up-and-coming directors of photography who are making their mark.”
According to her bio, as found on www.imbd.com,
She also won one award for Cinematography at the English Riviera Film Festival in 2019 for her work in a film named “Treacle”.
The point of this article in asking the question, “Who was Halyna Hutchins?” is to provide some grounding clarity. In the midst of the mainstream reporting, it appears that the victim of this senseless and reckless shooting has been largely ignored. Like all human Life, Halyna Hutchins’ Life mattered. She was a daughter, a wife and a mother. She had a very promising career in her chosen field of work before it was cut down recklessly and needlessly. She was only 42 years old.
As an Investigator, the question “Who?’ is very often used in the practical sense and not the very emotional human sense. For this article, I chose the latter over the former, because I truly believe that every victim of either Murder, (Intentional Act leading to death) or Manslaughter, (Unintentional/Reckless Act leading to death), deserves to have their stories told.