Gun Handed to Baldwin Before Fatal Shooting Was Declared 'Cold', Affidavit States
Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins was fatally shot in the chest, while Director Joel Souza, standing behind her, was wounded after Alec Baldwin fired a prop gun on the set of the film Rust, produced by and featuring the 63-year-old Hollywood actor.
The prop gun that actor Alec Baldwin discharged
on the set of the film “Rust”, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and wounding director Joel Souza, had been declared safe by an unnamed assistant director (AD), according to an affidavit filed by the Santa Fe County’s Sheriff’s Office and cited by
the New York Times.
In preparation for the filming of a forthcoming scene, the AD had taken the prop gun from a tray where it had been “set up” by the film’s “armourer”, or weapons expert, together with a Western-style gun belt used in the scene, says the court document.
The man, who “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun”, according to the affidavit, proceeded to hand it to Alec Baldwin, shouting “cold gun!”
The phrase is meant to indicate that the weapon did not contain any live rounds and was safe to handle. However, when Baldwin pulled the trigger, the gun fired a projectile
that struck cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, 42, in the chest. The woman had been seated in front of director Joel Souza, who was also wounded in the shoulder, according to the police records.
According to witnesses on the set, a stunned Baldwin had asked:
“Why was I handed a hot gun?”
After the weapon had been discharged by the actor, the armourer was given the prop gun and he proceeded to remove the spent casing out of the weapon prior to handing it over to the police, says the report filed by Detective Joel Cano and cited by the outlet.
It was added that Baldwin, who had been dressed in Western-style clothing for the scene, had changed into street clothes and then submitted the costume, which appeared to have blood stains, as evidence.
The Santa Fe County sheriff’s office said on Friday afternoon that the investigation into Thursday’s incident was “active and ongoing.”
“Detectives entered the movie set today and continue to interview potential witnesses… Apparently there were quite a few people at the scene of what happened,” Juan Rios, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, was cited as saying.
According to Rios, Alec Baldwin had voluntarily delivered a statement regarding the incident at the sheriff’s office and had been “very cooperative.”
No details were offered pertaining to the type of gun or projectile involved in the fatal shooting.
“Regarding the projectile, a focus of the investigation is what type it was and how did it get there,” he was quoted as saying.
The spokesman added that investigators were executing search warrants at Bonanza Creek Ranch, the site of the shooting, with ammunition and other prop weapons taken from the set by investigators. Filmed footage is also to be reviewed as part of the probe.
Earlier, The Albuquerque Journal cited an audio recording
of a 911 call, purportedly made by a woman who identified herself as a script supervisor. According to the report, the caller stated that two people had been “accidentally shot by a prop gun,” adding that she didn’t know if the gun had contained live ammunition.
“We were rehearsing and it went off and I ran out. We all ran out,” said the female caller, according to the publication.
Currently, no charges have been filed in the incident.
In a statement released on Friday, Alec Baldwin conveyed his “shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague”.
The parents of the shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, Antoly and Olga, are said to be “beside themselves with grief”. Hutchins was born and raised in Soviet-era Ukraine. She graduated from the International Journalism Department of Kiev University and collaborated with British documentary filmmakers as an investigative journalist before moving to Los Angeles several years ago.
A friend of the deceased from her hometown of Kiev, in Ukraine
, was cited by The Sun as saying:
“The family is grieving but at the same time they are asking and they will want answers. If someone made a mistake then they will have to pay. They just don't understand how something dreadful like this could have happened when safety measures are supposed to be in place.”
It was also added that the parents of the shot cinematographer
were trying to “secure documents to get to the United States”, as the mother “does not have the correct paperwork”.
Earlier, Halyna Hutchins’ husband, Matthew, was cited as telling the Daily Mail:
“I have spoken with Alec Baldwin and he is being very supportive.”