'She was my friend': Alec Baldwin says cinematographer's shooting was 'one in a trillion' event

Alec Baldwin says he is in "constant contact" with Halyna Hutchins's grieving family. Credit: AP

Alec Baldwin has described the fatal shooting of his "friend" and cinematographer as a "one in a trillion accident".

Speaking for the first time publicly on camera over the tragedy, the actor said he is in "constant contact" with Halyna Hutchins's grieving husband and their nine-year-old son.

“She was my friend, she was my friend," Baldwin told press on Saturday on a roadside in Vermont.

"The day I arrived in Sante Fe to start shooting the film, I took her to dinner with Joel the director.

“We were a very, very well-oiled crew shooting a film together and then this horrible event happened.”

"There are incidental accidents on film sets from time to time but nothing like this. This is a one in a trillion event," he added.

The actor was pictured on set following the tragedy

In the video, shared by TMZ, Baldwin said he could not comment further as he has been ordered by police not to make any comments amid the active investigation.

Following the tragedy on the film set of "Rust" in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the actor said he met with Mrs Hutchins's husband Matthew and their young son.

Baldwin said he "would not know how to characterise" the meeting and the family are "mortified".

"The guy is overwhelmed with grief... he's in shock," he added.

He said he backs an ongoing effort to limit the use of firearms on film sets and suggested measures like using rubber or plastic guns and a ban of live ammunition should be implemented.

A vigil for Halyna Hutchins Credit: AP

"How many bullets have been fired on films and TV shows in the past 75 years... Nearly all of them without incident," he said.

"What has to happen now is we have to realise that when it does go wrong - and it's this horrible catastrophic thing - some new measures have to take place."

Baldwin was joined by his wife, Hilaria, when he spoke to photographers and said he was speaking out so that they would stop following his family.

The actor was rehearsing a scene that saw him drawing a gun and pointing it at a camera when he shot and accidentally killed the cinematographer with a weapon he believed was not loaded, court records show.

Investigators believe Baldwin’s gun fired a single live round that killed cinematographer and wounded director Joel Souza.

Investigators in New Mexico, where the shooting occurred, have said that there was “some complacency” in how weapons were handled on the movie set but it's too soon to determine whether charges will be filed.

Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza has said 500 rounds of ammunition — a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and suspected live rounds — were found while searching the set.

Detectives have recovered a lead projectile they believe the actor fired. Testing is being done to confirm whether the projectile taken from Souza’s shoulder was fired from the same long Colt revolver used by Baldwin. The FBI will help with ballistics analysis.

Souza, who was standing behind Hutchins, told investigators there should never be live rounds present near the scene.

District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said investigators cannot say yet whether it was negligence or by whom. She called it a complex case that will require more research and analysis.