Baldwin was practicing drawing gun when he fired fatal shot: director

AFP News Agency

25th Oct, 2021. 10:28 pm
Baldwin

Baldwin, AFP photo

LOS ANGELES, Alec Baldwin was practicing drawing his gun from his holster and pointing it at the camera when he fatally shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the movie “Rust,” the director said in a search-warrant affidavit.

The 63-year-old Baldwin was “sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw,” director Joel Souza said, “pointing the revolver towards the camera lens.”

Souza told investigators in the affidavit released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office that he was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder “when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop.”

The director said he remembered the 42-year-old Hutchins “complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection.”

“Halyna began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground,” the affidavit, seen by AFP, said. “Joel explained that he was bleeding from his shoulder and he could see blood on Halyna.”

Hutchins was struck in the chest when Baldwin fired the prop gun he had been told was safe on the set of the low-budget western in New Mexico on October 21. She was declared dead in hospital hours later.

Souza, 48, was treated by doctors and sent home.

No one has been charged and no arrests have been made.

Baldwin has been interviewed by detectives in Santa Fe and has said he is cooperating fully with the probe.

Cameraman Reid Russell also gave his version of events in the affidavit.

Russell, who was standing next to Souza and Hutchins, said Baldwin was “trying to explain how he was going to draw out the firearm and where his arm would be at when the firearm was pulled from the holster.”

“Reid was not sure why the firearm was discharged and just remembered the loud bang,” the affidavit said. “He remembered Joel having blood on his person, and Halyna speaking and saying she couldn’t feel her legs.”

– ‘Cold Gun’ –

The camera operator said the shooting was not caught on film as the cast and crew were still preparing for the scene.

The incident happened after a lunch break, Souza said in the affidavit, and the director wasn’t sure if the gun had been checked again for safety after the break.

“Souza stated there should never be live rounds whatsoever, near or around the scene,” the affidavit said, but as “far as he knows, no one gets checked for live ammunition on their person prior and after the scenes are being filmed.”

“According to (Souza), it was his belief the gun being used in the rehearsal was safe and used the term ‘cold gun’ when explaining the firearm safety announcements,” the affidavit said.

“(Souza) said he remembered the phrase ‘Cold Gun’ being said, while preparing for the scene.”

Attention has focused on the film’s assistant director, Dave Halls, who handed the weapon to the actor, and on the armorer, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed.

According to the affidavit, Halls handed one of three prop guns to Baldwin that had been set up on a cart by Gutierrez-Reed.

“(Halls) yelled ‘Cold Gun,’ indicating the prop gun did not have any live rounds,” it said. “(Halls) did not know live rounds were in the prop-gun.”

Souza also told investigators the day had gotten off to a late start because of a dispute with a camera crew about pay and housing.

The director said everyone was “getting along,” however, and “there were no altercations that took place to his knowledge.”

The new details emerged as Hutchins’ shocked friends and colleagues gathered to pay tribute to her Sunday at a vigil where their anguish and anger were on display.

Calls were growing for a ban on live firearms on movie sets, with a petition gathering more than 20,000 signatures and a California lawmaker announcing he would push a bill banning live ammunition on sets in the state.

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