Debra Messing Defends Alec Baldwin After Accidental Shooting on Movie Set: 'A Catastrophic Event'

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured Thursday after Alec Baldwin accidentally misfired a prop gun on set in New Mexico

Debra Messing is coming to Alec Baldwin's defense after news of a tragic incident on set of his new movie Rust.

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was killed and director Joel Souza was injured Thursday after star and producer Baldwin, 63, accidentally misfired a prop gun at the Bonanza Creek Ranch set in New Mexico. Upon further investigation, the local sheriff's department learned that Hutchins, 42, and Souza, 48, were "shot when a prop firearm was discharged" by Baldwin.

When conservative media commentator Benny Johnson tweeted that the "accurate" headline is "Alec Baldwin kills person with gun, criminal investigation underway," Messing, 53, responded, calling the situation a "catastrophic event."

For more on the shooting on the Rust set, listen below to our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day.

"It is absolutely NOT. A prop gun was handed to him. He used it in the scene. Then- a catastrophic event happened where Halnya [sic] Hutchins lost her life and Joel Souza was injured. I am praying for all of their families," wrote Messing.

Debra Messing; Alec Baldwin
Debra Messing; Alec Baldwin. Bruce Glikas/WireImage; Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

Baldwin has guest starred on Will & Grace with Messing, with the actress posting a selfie on Instagram with him back in 2018, writing at the time, "That's right. This silver fox IS BACK! My friend @iamalecbaldwin is back and we are all peeing our pants, laughing!"

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

The film set has since been shut down, with production indefinitely paused, according to the film's production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC.

They said in a statement Thursday, "The entire cast and crew has been absolutely devastated by today's tragedy, and we send our deepest condolences to Halyna's family and loved ones. We have halted production on the film for an undetermined period of time and are fully cooperating with the Santa Fe Police Department's investigation. We will be providing counseling services to everyone connected to the film as we work to process this awful event."

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital, where she died from her injuries, according to the sheriff's department.

So far, no charges have been filed. The investigation into the incident remains ongoing.

Earlier on Thursday, a spokesperson for Baldwin told PEOPLE that "there was an accident today on the New Mexico set of Rust involving the misfire of a prop gun with blanks." Reps for Baldwin did not respond to PEOPLE's request for additional comment.

Related Articles