Alec Baldwin said Prop was a ‘cold gun’ before fatal shooting, affidavit says

SANTA FE, NM — It was early Thursday afternoon on the set of the Western movie “Rust” at a bucolic ranch outside of town when officials said the deputy director seized one of the three pistols. propeller arranged on a rolling cart and handed it to Alec Baldwin to film a scene.

“Cold Gun,” the deputy director shouted, indicating that the gun had no live ammunition, according to a search warrant affidavit prepared by a detective from the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office.

But something went wrong.

Mr. Baldwin, the star of the film set near Santa Fe, took the gun and fired, according to the affidavit. Halyna Hutchins, a 42-year-old filmmaker born in Ukraine, suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the chest, according to the affidavit and the sheriff’s office. Joel Souza, the director, 48, was behind Ms Hutchins on set and shot in the shoulder, according to the affidavit and authorities. Mr. Baldwin’s Old West-style suit was stained with what appeared to be blood, according to the affidavit.

A spokesperson for the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office said Friday night that investigators were still trying to determine what type of projectile was fired and how a day of filming turned out to be lethal.

No charges were filed in the shooting, officials said. Interviews with people familiar with the set said production was hampered by poor working conditions and a walkout this week by cameramen. It could not be determined whether the disruption contributed to Thursday’s shooting.

The detective who prepared the affidavit said he learned that Dave Halls, the deputy warden, “had no idea that live ammunition was in the gun” when he handed it to Mr Baldwin, according to the ‘affidavit. Mr. Halls did not respond to requests for comment.

The affidavit identified the gunsmith on set as Hannah Gutierrez, also identified as Hannah Gutierrez Reed in a call sheet for the film reviewed by the Wall Street Journal.

Authorities in Santa Fe County, New Mexico, were investigating the incident Friday on the set of “Rust” and trying to assess whether an actual bullet had been fired.


Photo:

Roberto E. Rosales / Albuquerque Journal / ZUMA Press

Gunsmiths are responsible for managing the safety and use of propeller guns on a set. They are also responsible for making sure there are no projectiles in prop guns, among other safety precautions, people familiar with the work said.

Ms. Gutierrez Reed had arranged the weapons on the cart, according to the affidavit. After the incident, she picked up the gun and removed a used cartridge case before handing it over to the sheriff’s deputies who had arrived at the scene, according to the affidavit.

Ms. Gutierrez Reed, 24, did not respond to a request for comment.

Ms Gutierrez Reed had recently completed her first film as chief gunsmith on “The Old Way” with Nicolas Cage, according to a podcast interview she gave last month. She said in the interview with the “Voices of the West” podcast that she almost didn’t take the job because she was nervous, but the shoot ended up going well.

Ms Gutierrez Reed is the daughter of famous gunsmith and firearms consultant Thell Reed, who she says trained her. When reached on Mr. Reed’s cell phone, a man who answered said he was unaware of the accident and was not there.

MPs were also looking for a video of the set that could have captured the incident and documents showing who owned the weapons, among other things, according to the affidavit.

Mr. Baldwin, who changed his costume after the shooting, according to the affidavit, was then questioned by law enforcement. A photo from the Santa Fe New Mexican shows a distraught Mr. Baldwin leaning in the parking lot of the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office after the shooting.

In a statement on Twitter, Mr Baldwin said he was cooperating with the investigation. “There are no words to express my shock and sadness over the tragic accident that claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins, a deeply admired wife, mother and colleague,” he said.

The film’s production company, Rust Movie Productions LLC, has called the safety of the cast and crew a top priority. “Although we have not been made aware of any official complaints regarding the safety of weapons or accessories on set, we will conduct an internal review of our procedures during the shutdown of production. We will continue to cooperate with authorities. de Santa Fe in their investigation, ”he said.

A representative of the production company did not respond to a request for comment on working conditions or the walkout.

Professionals on set are trained to follow enhanced security protocols around guns, said Stephen Lighthill, president of the American Society of Cinematographers.

“What that means is that someone was tired, that someone didn’t follow protocol, that someone didn’t hire the right person,” Mr. Lighthill said, so general. “It’s not an accident, it’s a preventable incident. We all know how to avoid these problems, ”he said.

Particularly on low-budget, independent films, such as “Rust,” it’s not uncommon for there to be social unrest or for production crews to be expected to work long hours with few breaks, say the researchers. film production workers.

The Covid-19 pandemic has put even more pressure on film crews. Many have shrunk in size as part of efforts to curb the potential spread of the virus, production workers say. Earlier this month, the production workers union IATSE struck a new tentative deal with studios and streaming services for better pay and healthier working conditions.

Just before 2 p.m. local time Thursday, a fire department dispatcher reported that two people “were accidentally shot” on set, Bonanza Creek Ranch Studios, according to archived dispatch tapes.

A few minutes later, a first responder said, “Have a plane available and they won’t be able to take two patients. I’ll contact another one.

Ms. Hutchins was transported by helicopter to the University of New Mexico hospital in Albuquerque. Mr. Souza was taken to a local hospital in Santa Fe for his injuries, according to the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s statement. Mr. Souza was subsequently released from the hospital, a person familiar with the matter said.

Halyna Hutchins, seen in 2019, was from Ukraine. She was 42 years old.


Photo:

Fred Hayes / Getty Images

Accidental fatal shots on Hollywood sets are rare but have happened before. Brandon Lee, son of Bruce and Linda Lee, was killed in 1993 by an accidental gunshot wound on the set of “The Crow”.

At least 43 people have died on film sets in the United States since 1990, according to a 2016 Associated Press investigation, while more than 150 suffered life-changing injuries.

“Rust” is a low budget independent film on which Mr. Baldwin also produced. Other stars include Frances Fisher and Travis Fimmel. In the film, Mr. Baldwin plays the role of a grandfather who tries to save his estranged grandson from execution for an accidental murder.

Independent films such as “Rust” are often distributed by many small companies around the world. The film’s budget was less than $ 6 million, said a person familiar with the project.

Creative Artists Agency pre-sold national distribution to The Avenue, a unit of distribution company Highland Film Group. The national rights were sold for around $ 2 million, the person familiar with the matter said. Highland also handles international sales.

BondIt Media Capital, a media finance company, handled the funding for the film. BondIt Media director Matthew Helderman also has executive producer credit on the film. Mr. Helderman could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Baldwin’s acting career includes film and television credits for “30 Rock” and the Mission Impossible film franchise. He portrayed former President Donald Trump on “Saturday Night Live” and was also a business spokesperson for Capital One Financial.

Write to Dan Frosch at [email protected], Katherine Sayre at [email protected], Ben Kesling at [email protected] and Joe Flint at [email protected]

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