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The husband of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the set of the Alec Baldwin movie Rust, is opening up about his memories of his late wife and the moment when he told their son that his mom had died.
Matt Hutchins said he first learned that Hutchins had been shot from a member of the film’s production team.
“My heart sank right away, completely inexplicable to me that it could have happened at that moment,” he told NBC News’ Hoda Kotb in a taped interview that aired on Thursday’s Today show.
The incident took place on the film’s set on Oct. 21 when Baldwin discharged a prop gun that had a live round in it. Halyna Hutchins was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Director Joel Souza, who was looking over the cinematographer’s shoulder, was injured when the gun discharged.
Hutchins initially thought he needed to be with his son and that they had to go to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where the movie was filming. He later learned from a doctor that his wife had died. While he was “heartbroken” at that news, he knew he needed to tell their son.
“I just had to be very direct and blunt, because going to pick him up and go to the airport and go to Santa Fe, I didn’t want him to think we were going to be seeing her and having fun together and getting his hopes up,” Hutchins recalled. “I told him, sitting together, that his mother had been shot and died. And of course he didn’t believe it right away. He didn’t want to believe it.”
Hutchins went on to say he had to repeat the news to 9-year-old Andros “multiple times so that it can be believed.”
“And so he believed it, and we cried together then. Every holiday, Christmas, New Year’s, our anniversary, my birthday, Valentine’s Day, every holiday is difficult without her, for me and Andros.”
Hutchins also spoke about the “magical” moment when he met his wife and deciding to propose to her only three months after they met, traveling 2,000 miles to see her.
“I like to trust my intuition on matters of the heart,” he said, adding that she thought it was “way too fast” and that he “had to convince her.”
And he recalled how his wife would call every night from the Rust set to talk to her son and wish him good night.
“I think it helped him get to sleep every night knowing that she was thinking about him,” he said. “We certainly expected her to come home and to be there with us in our new home.”
Hutchins also spoke about meeting up with Baldwin shortly after the shooting.
“I feel like to understand that moment you have to remember the shock we were in and I spoke with Mr. Baldwin and was just looking for a way through the storm,” Hutchins said. When Kotb asked if Baldwin was “distraught,” Hutchins said, “There were a lot of emotions for sure on both sides.”
In a clip released ahead of the Today broadcast, Hutchins, whose family has filed a wrongful death suit over what happened to his wife, expressed anger at Baldwin’s recent interview, in which, he says, Baldwin shifted blame and said he didn’t seem to “accept any responsibility.”
“Almost sounds like he was the victim,” Hutchins said. “And hearing him blame Halyna in the interview and shift responsibility to others and seeing him cry about it, I just feel like, ‘Are we really supposed to feel bad about you, Mr. Baldwin?'”
He added, “The idea that the person holding the gun causing it to discharge is not responsible is absurd to me. Every individual who touches a firearm has a responsibility for gun safety, but gun safety was not the only problem on that set. There were a number of industry standards that were not practiced and there’s multiple responsible parties.”
Last week, it was announced that Halyna Hutchins’ family had filed the wrongful death suit against Baldwin and “others responsible for the safety on set and whose reckless behavior” led to her “senseless and tragic death.”
When asked in the Today sit-down what “justice” would be, Hutchins said, “We’re pursuing justice every way we can with the lawsuit, seeking to hold accountable the people who are responsible for Halyna’s death, which was totally preventable. In the end, justice won’t bring Halyna back, but maybe the memory of her can help keep people safe and prevent something like this from ever happening again.”
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