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Halyna Hutchins remembered as driven by past USC Upstate professor

Hutchins was accidentally shot by actor Alec Baldwin on the New Mexico set of the Western "Rust" with a gun that was supposed to be a prop with no live ammo.

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — As the world continues to wonder exactly how the tragic death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins occurred just days earlier, a former adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina Upstate is still in shock.

Hutchins was accidentally shot by actor Alec Baldwin on the New Mexico set of the Western "Rust" with a gun that was supposed to be a prop with no live ammo.

And while many questions remain about how those moments unfolded, her former professor William Richardson continues to remember the clear talent she showed during her time in South Carolina.

Richardson, who is now the regional studio manager for ETV Upstate, said that he remembers her as one of the most driven people he had ever met. While it was many years ago when she was an ETV Endowment intern, Richardson said that they had kept in contact over the years.

They discussed her work, her early life growing up in Ukraine, and more. She told him about her family and her father, who she had said was a captain on a Russian nuclear submarine. He had told her she could have written a book about her life.

Credit: (Adam Egypt Mortimer via AP)
This photo provided by Adam Egypt Mortimer shows cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of "Archenemy" in January 2020 in Los Angeles. Hutchins was fatally shot by Alec Baldwin Thursday on the New Mexico set of the western film "Rust." Authorities continue to investigate the shooting but there are no allegations of wrongdoing by Baldwin.

Richardson said one of his last commutations with Hutchins was a request to use some of her photos so he could put together a sort of tribute to a student who had excelled so greatly in her career.

She had also told her former professor that she would send him some movie posters from the films she had worked on. Williamson said that, sadly, he never got the chance to put together that special tribute - and those posters were never sent.

Williamson said that he had only heard about the shooting on Friday morning. It wasn't until later that he realized that the victim was his friend of many years.

On Saturday, Richardson shared with News19 a post he had made on Facebook about Hutchins and her work. In brief, the post goes from the days of her internship and the time he taught her in a class on advanced video production to the career and accolades she later attained through her great talent.

"She had great aspirations of one day working at the highest level of the movie industry. She attained that goal and was recently named one of the rising stars in the industry by American Cinematography Magazine," he wrote.