Alec Baldwin pointed gun at camera when the weapon fired during rehearsal – Daily Mail


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Alec Baldwin was practicing a cross draw in a church pew when he accidentally shot and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of Rust on Thursday and was 'inconsolable for hours' afterwards, search warrants from the local sheriff's department have revealed. 

Baldwin, 63, was filming Rust in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Thursday with Halyna Hutchins, 42, and director Joel Souza, 48, when the gun - which he thought contained blanks - went off. 

Hutchins was wounded in the chest then 'stumbled backwards, holding her mid-section and complaining she couldn't feel her legs', according to witnesses who were interviewed by sheriff's deputies afterwards. She was airlifted to the hospital but was pronounced dead a short time later. Souza was released from the hospital on Thursday night. 

The search warrants reveal how Assistant Director Dave Halls handed Baldwin the gun, claiming it was 'a cold gun' without realizing there were live rounds in the chamber. He had been working with 'inexperienced' armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed. 

Industry experts are lining up to ask how a live round ever made it on to the movie set, much less into the gun that Baldwin was handling. On Wednesday night, the day before the shooting, crew had walked off the set in a row over 'payment and housing'. They were replaced by local workers. 

At 1.50pm, Baldwin was preparing for the scene, sitting in a church pew, when he was handed the weapon by Halls. What exactly happened next is unclear but Souza described hearing a 'pop', then seeing Halyna wounded. 

After the shooting, Baldwin changed out of his Western costume into 'street clothes' for police to recover his clothes. The affidavit says they had 'blood stains' on them. 

Production of the film has been halted now while the authorities continued to investigate. In an email to crew on Sunday night, the movie producers encouraged staff not to speak to the press about the accident.

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Alec Baldwin, left in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Sunday, accidentally killed Halyna Hutchins while practicing a cross draw with a weapon that was loaded with a live round. Hutchins, 42, clutched her 'chest' and 'stumbled backwards', according to director Joel Souza, who was shot in the shoulder

Alec Baldwin is seen hugging Matthew Hutchins, the widower of Halina, a cinematographer who he shot and killed on the set of his new movie Rust last week

Assistant Director Dave Halls, left, handed Baldwin the gun, claiming it was 'cold', according to the search warrants. The movie's armorer was Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, right 

Search warrants released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Department on Sunday reveal what witnesses told police during interviews 

Souza, the director, told police how Baldwin had been preparing for the scene when the gun went off.  

The affidavit reveals how police took Baldwin's blood-stained clothes into evidence 

'Joel stated that they had Alec sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw. Joel said he was looking over the shoulder of (Hutchins), when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop. 

'Joel then vaguely remembers (Hutchins) complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection. Joel also said (Hutchins) began to stumble backwards and she was assisted to the ground.' 

The information about Thursday's shooting has emerged in new affidavits which also cite cameraman Reid Russell who told investigators that Baldwin had always been careful with weapons on set. 

In a previous scene, he asked that a child who was nearby be removed from the set to avoid any accidents. 

On Sunday night, the cast and crew received an email from the film's production company which encouraged them not to speak to the media. 

Many had complained online about the conditions they were working under before they walked off the set. 

The email also said they were working to determine when crew would be able to return to set to gather belongings.  

'As the investigation continues, we cannot respond to the comments that have been making their way into the media, on social media and elsewhere. We are sorry to hear that so many of you are receiving unsolicited contacts from the media while all of us need time and space to grieve and heal. 

'You don’t need to engage, but if you do just ask that the journalists to respect your privacy. It should help,' the email says. 

Cinematographer Halyna Hutchins (left) was fatally shot with a prop gun fired by actor Alec Baldwin in a movie set in New Mexico on Thursday, while director Joel Souza (right) was injured

Cameraman Reid Russell told a detective that Baldwin, who he said had been careful with weapons on set, was rehearsing a scene in which he was set to draw his gun while sitting in a church pew and point it at the camera. Pictured: the church where the gun was fired during rehearsals

The camera wasn't rolling when the gun went off 'like a whip and a loud pop', Souza said, during rehearsals in a church pew

People attend a vigil for late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the film set of 'Rust', in Burbank, Los Angeles, California

Actor Alec Baldwin, 63, was reportedly 'hysterical and absolutely inconsolable for hours' after accidentally shooting cinematographer Halyna Hutchins with a loaded prop gun on a movie set Thursday afternoon

Hundreds of people turned out for the second vigil for Hutchins, after another event was held in Albuquerque 

A distraught Baldwin was photographed on Saturday outside a hotel in Santa Fe embracing and talking with Matt Hutchins, the husband of Halyna Hutchins, and their nine-year-old son. 

It comes as mourners held candles in Hutchins' honor while watching a slideshow of the cinematographer in silence during a moving vigil this weekend, while the International Cinematographers Guild held another ceremony for Hutchins in Albuquerque on Saturday. 

In a statement read to a candlelight vigil on Saturday, Hutchins called his wife's death 'an enormous loss.' 

No one has been charged in the fatal incident during a rehearsal on Thursday at the Bonanza Creek Ranch outside Santa Fe as the sheriff's office continues its investigation.

Multiple media and social media reports have raised concerns about safety protocols on the set of the low-budget movie. Both Souza and Russel described a walk-out by a camera crew before the accident.

'Reid stated that the camera crew was having issues with production involving payment and housing,' the affidavit reads, adding that Russel had said six individuals had walked out.

Serge Svetnoy, chief electrician for Rust, said in a Facebook post on Sunday that he had held Hutchins his arms while she was dying and blamed 'negligence and unprofessionalism' for her death.

Several members of the camera crew walked off the production in a dispute over payment and lodging, Russell said, and he was left with a lot of work to do. Only one camera was available to shoot, and it had to be moved because the light had shifted and there was a shadow.

He said he was unsure whether the weapon was checked before it was handed to Baldwin.

Souza said that he was focused on how the scene would appear on camera. He said he recalled hearing the phrase 'cold gun' being used before the shooting. 

Mourners held candles in Hutchins' honor while watching a slideshow of the cinematographer in silence 

Mourners attend a candlelight vigil for Halyna Hutchins at IATSE West Coast Office on October 24

An inconsolable Alec Baldwin is shown outside the Santa Fe County Sheriff's Office after accidentally shooting and killing the cinematographer on Thursday

He said the scene they were shooting did not call for the use of live rounds.

Authorities said Friday that the assistant director, Dave Halls, had handed the weapon to Baldwin and announced 'cold gun,' indicating it was safe to use. 

On Sunday, a crew member who worked with Halls on another project said she had raised safety concerns about him in 2019.

Maggie Goll, a prop maker and licensed pyrotechnician, said in a statement that she filed an internal complaint with the executive producers of Hulu's 'Into the Dark' series in 2019 over concerns about Halls' behavior on set. Goll said in a phone interview Sunday that Halls disregarded safety protocols for weapons and pyrotechnics and tried to continue filming after the supervising pyrotechnician lost consciousness on set.

Halls has not returned phone calls and email messages seeking comment.

The fatal shooting and previous experiences point to larger safety issues that need to be addressed, Goll said, adding that crew member safety and wellbeing were top issues in recent contract negotiations between a union that represents film and TV workers and a major producers' group.

'This situation is not about Dave Halls. ... It's in no way one person's fault,' she said. 'It's a bigger conversation about safety on set and what we are trying to achieve with that culture.'

When asked about how Baldwin treated firearms on the set, Russell said the actor was very careful, citing an instance when Baldwin made sure a child actor was not near him when a gun was being discharged. 

Celebrity website, citing unidentified sources connected to the production, said the gun handed to Baldwin had previously been used by crew members for target practice off-set, using real bullets.

Gun that went off in Alec Baldwin's hands and claimed the life of Halyna Hutchins was used for off-set target practice by crew members and live ammo and blanks were stored together, sources say 

Alec Baldwin was wielding a vintage Colt pistol when it accidentally went off. It is not known who loaded the weapon and why it went off as a replacement crew was brought in the day of the incident (The gun pictured above is a vintage Colt pistol manufactured between 1873-92. While the exact model of the gun used is unknown, Rust is set in the 1880s)

 The gun that killed the cinematographer on the set of Alec Baldwin's Rust had been used for target practice by crew members, sources linked to the western film's production said. 

Multiple sources connected to the set of Rust told TMZ that the same Colt pistol that went off in Alec Baldwin's hands, killing Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza, had been used recreationally by crew members. 

The sources claim that some crew members would go off for target practice using real bullets, and some believe a live round from those practice sessions found its way onto the set. 

Another source told TMZ that live ammo and blanks were being stored in the same area on set, offering another possible explanation as to how a bullet was fired from Baldwin's Colt.  

A search warrant released Friday said that Rust armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, 24, had laid out three prop guns on a cart outside the filming location, and first assistant director Dave Halls grabbed the Colt from the cart and brought it inside to Baldwin, unaware that it was loaded with live rounds. 

'Cold gun!' shouted Halls before handing the gun to Baldwin, using the phrase to signal to cast and crew that the gun was safe to fire for the scene, the warrant said. 

Seconds later, filming a scene inside an Old West-style church, Baldwin apparently aimed towards the camera and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing Hutchins as she filmed him, and injuring Souza, who stood behind her. 

Two production sources who previously worked with Gutierrez-Reed said this was not the first time she was involved in an incident on a movie set. 

The two sources told The Daily Beast that Hannah Gutierrez-Reed had allegedly given an 11-year-old actress a gun without checking it properly while on the set of the Nicholas Cage film, The Old Way. 

'There were a couple times she was loading the blanks and doing it in a fashion that we thought was unsafe,' one of the sources said.

'She was a bit careless with the guns, waving it around every now and again.'  

Sources on the Rust set have said the fatal incident that killed Hutchins, 42, and injured Souza, 48, was a result of production failings from top to bottom. 

They added that assistant director Halls, who handed the gun to Baldwin and told him it was safe, should have checked the weapon. 

'He's supposed to be our last line of defense and he failed us,' one of the sources on set said. 'He's the last person that's supposed to look at that firearm.'

A Rust production source told The Daily Beast that there were at least two previous incidents of guns being accidentally discharged by other crewmember on set before Thursday's tragic incident. 

The source described Gutierrez-Reed as 'inexperienced and green.' 

Candles are placed in front of a photo of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins during a vigil in her honor

Attendees of the vigil held candles, gave heartfelt speeches about Hutchins, and shared what a beloved member of the community she was

Assistant director 'ignored gun safety protocols on previous production'

The assistant director on Rust has been accused of making a string of gun-safety gaffes on a prior production - and was also said to have made staff feel uncomfortable with his 'touchy' behavior.   

Complaints against Dave Halls were made by prop maker and pyrotechnician Maggie Goll after working on him on a previous production with him on Hulu in 2019 called Into the Dark.

In Goll's statement to CNN, she claimed that Halls never addressed weapon safety protocols in production meetings or when a firearm was to be used on the set.

Goll also said that she was told to 'watch out' for him by another crew member as Halls apparently tended to get touchy with them. 

In reference to her experience on Into the Dark, Goll said she had worked with Halls between February to May of 2019 where he had neglected to hold production meetings to follow standard weapon safety protocols.

Those stipulate that any weapon being used on a set - real or fake - must be 'introduced' to the cast and the crew so that they are aware of its presence, and can follow other safety protocols. 

'The only reason the crew was made aware of a weapon's presence was because the assistant prop master demanded Dave acknowledge and announce the situation each day,' Goll said in the statement. 

She also added that the prop master would reprimand Halls for not acknowledging the protocol.

Another unnamed crew member had also said that Halls would only hold short meetings about guns as necessary, but would often question why he was holding them as he said the protocols were the same as on every other film set.

Reuters could not verify the report and police in Santa Fe did not respond to inquiries on Sunday.

According to the Los Angeles Times, more than a week ago Baldwin's stunt double accidentally fired two rounds from a prop firearm after being told it was 'cold', an industry term meaning a weapon is not loaded with ammunition, including blanks.

Rust Movie Productions said last week that although they 'were not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set, we will be conducting an internal review of our procedures while production is shut down.'

According to court documents, the prop gun was handed to Baldwin by the film's assistant director, Dave Halls, who has more than 20 years' experience in the business.

Halls did not respond to requests for comment on Sunday. Also involved in the sheriff's probe is the movie's chief armorer, Hannah Gutierrez. She could not be reached for comment.

About 200 people took part in the vigil for Hutchins in Albuquerque on Saturday. While organizers emphasized that the event was to honor Hutchins' memory, rather than focus on her death, some in the crowd held signs that read 'Safety on Set.'

A second vigil was held on Sunday in the Los Angeles area, where a few hundred people mourned in a private parking lot, according to a Reuters photographer.

Hollywood professionals say they're baffled by the circumstances and production crews have quickly stepped up safety measures.

Jeffrey Wright, who has worked on projects including the James Bond franchise and the upcoming movie 'The Batman,' was acting with a weapon on the set of 'Westworld' when news broke of the shooting Thursday at a New Mexico ranch. 'We were all pretty shocked. And it informed what we did from that moment on,' he said in an interview Sunday at the Newport Beach Film Festival.

'I don't recall ever being handed a weapon that was not cleared in front of me - meaning chamber open, barrel shown to me, light flashed inside the barrel to make sure that it's cleared,' Wright said. 'Clearly, that was a mismanaged set.'

Actor Ray Liotta agreed with Wright that the checks on firearms are usually extensive.

'They always - that I know of - they check it so you can see,' Liotta said. 'They give it to the person you're pointing the gun at, they do it to the producer, they show whoever is there that it doesn't work.'

On Sunday, a source said Baldwin is looking 'to take some time to himself and re-center himself' after he was spotted walking out of a hotel and embracing Hutchins' husband Matt just two days after the fatal stunt. He is also said to have been seen hugging Matt and Halyna's son Andros, 9. 

'This was pretty devastating,' the source told People magazine.

'This is how he handles difficult times. Whenever something bad happens, in the short term, he removes himself from [the] public eye.'

People attend a vigil for late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the film set of 'Rust'

Some of Sunday's vigil participants saw Hutchins' passing as a warning to the film industry of the dangers stage and set workers face while at work every day. 'I hope this will bring real change,' said actress Jennifer Jernigan

Lisa Walker places a candle during a vigil for late cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, who was fatally shot on the film set of 'Rust', in Burbank 

One crew member said Rust will never be finished in the wake of the tragic shooting.

'None of us expect this movie to be finished. Ever,' the unnamed worker told The Sun after the tragedy on Thursday. 'We know this is the end of the road for Rust sadly.'

'Maybe way down the line it will get picked up again but right now, there’s no way it’s going to continue getting made. If by a miracle it ever is though, the movie will absolutely be dedicated to Halyna.'

The source told The Sun that the film couldn't go on without director Souza who is still recovering from his injuries after he, too, was shot.

'Not only is our director still [recovering], but there will be lawsuits I’m sure and a lot of other factors that will prevent this movie from ever being finished.'

Rust was being made on a $7 million budget - tiny, by Hollywood standards, where a superhero movie can cost upwards of $300 million.

The production had been hit by walkouts amid staff mistreatment, and will now forever be associated with the tragic killing of a crew member on set, potentially putting people off going to see it even if it were completed.

'But we have two things to accomplish tonight. The first is to comfort each other and the second is to celebrate the remarkable life of a remarkable woman that was cut short way too soon, ' she went on to say

'Tonight is about Halyna. There will be plenty of time to focus on the who, on the what, on the why in the future,' said a woman during the vigil

Halyna Hutchins' husband, Matthew, shared a touching tribute to his wife with a picture of her with their 9-year-old son Andros

Baldwin is the star of the movie, with the horrific tragedy that has swept the set likely making it difficult for anyone to watch his character on-screen without thinking of what happened should the movie miraculously make it to theaters.

Some experts have predicted that the movie's insurers may refuse to pay out if it emerges that safety protocols weren't followed properly, potentially ruining its financial backers.

The Crow, the 1993 movie which saw star Brandon Lee shot dead while filming, was completed and went on to become a financial success.

But Lee had completed almost all his scenes before filming, and wasn't shot and killed by the star of the movie.

Legal experts have told that lawsuits naming Baldwin are a virtual certainty, but that any potential criminal charges are more likely to center on whoever prepared the prop gun that he fired on set.

'If Baldwin or another person was negligent, a civil suit is almost a no-brainer at this point - a very high likelihood,' said attorney Jamie White, who has experience in both criminal defense and civil prosecutions.

'But the criminal side is going to be very fact-sensitive. Only if someone was recklessly negligent would there be criminal consequences,' he added. 'It is not likely that it was Baldwin's job to prepare props.' 

Key facts in the case have not yet been publicly confirmed, including who loaded the prop weapon, what kind of cartridges it was loaded with, and how and why a projectile was expelled.

'As the facts have thus far been presented, Baldwin will not be charged with an intentional act of violence,' said White.

'However, it is not unheard of to be charged with significant negligence. There are a lot more facts that need to be developed, but studios take extensive cautions in light of Brandon Lee's death in 1993,' he said, referring to the actor killed by a squib load on the set of The Crow.

Los Angeles personal injury attorney Miguel Custodio said that as the known facts stand, 'liability certainly points to Rust Movie Productions and the prop manager.'

Custodio noted that any lawsuit is likely to name Baldwin, however, due to his role as a producer of the movie as well as an actor.

'As the actor, Alec Baldwin has little liability because you're given something and you're trusting the prop manager to have checked everything out,' he said.

'Baldwin the producer may bear more responsibility, depending on if he is just an investor or has a more active role in the making of the film, which I suspect he does.'

'Overall, this is horrible negligence and Ms. Hutchins' survivors should go after everyone they can,' added Custodio. 'It's likely they'll go after Baldwin the actor, Baldwin the producer, the film company and the prop manager.'

After the fatal incident that took Hutchins' life, people in the entertainment industry are calling for Hollywood to ban the use of firearms on film sets

Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani, president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, said that criminal charges are possible in the case, but that a murder charge is unlikely.

'A charge of murder is unlikely because it requires the intent to kill. There is no evidence that Baldwin indeed intended to kill,' said Rahmani.

'A manslaughter charge might be more likely, because it does not require intent to kill, but does require criminal negligence or gross negligence,' he added. 'In this case, there are reports that the prop gun was loaded with live rounds. If that is true, that is grossly negligent, and whoever loaded the gun is going to be responsible.'

'Baldwin, if he had no knowledge whatsoever that the gun was loaded with a live round instead of a blank, wouldn't have any criminal liability,' said Rahmani.

Rahmani said that if a live round were loaded by mistake, its likely to be a case of simple negligence, which would not bring criminal liability.

'There is a rare circumstance where there can be criminal charges without any knowledge that the round was live,' he said.

'That's when there's deliberate indifference or willful ignorance. It's very hard to prove, which is why these types of prosecutions are rare.'

'It comes down to what was in the gun, who put it in, and what did he or she know when they put the round in there,' added Rahmani. 'If it was a blank, even blanks can be dangerous when discharged at close distances. That can be grossly negligent.'

Custodio speculated that any civil suit brought by the family of Hutchins was likely to seek a large amount of damages.

'She was 42 and had an incredibly promising future, so her potential earnings were likely to be significant,' he said.

'It's also clear that somebody failed her in the most basic way — to check whether a gun was safe — and may be criminally negligent,' added Custodio. 'And remember, director Joel Souza also was injured, and many others on set also are traumatized and affected by this.'

No criminal charges have been filed in the case, but police say an active investigation is underway. Baldwin has pledged to cooperate fully with the investigation.

'Kind and loving' cinematographer killed in Alec Baldwin tragedy: Ukraine-born married mother Halyna Hutchins, 42, was raised on a Soviet military base surrounded by nuclear submarines, trained as a journalist and was tipped as a rising star in Hollywood

Sun streaming from above, cinematographer Halyna Hutchins smiles into the camera as she films herself riding off into the New Mexico desert on horseback.

This was the last Instagram post shared by the married mother-of-one before she was accidentally killed by actor Alec Baldwin when he fired a prop gun while filming a scene for an upcoming Western on a ranch near Santa Fe.

Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base 'surrounded by reindeer and nuclear submarines', Halyna, 42, had trained as a journalist and spent time in Europe working on British documentaries before making the move to Los Angeles, where she had established her career - and started a family. 

Born in Ukraine and raised on a Soviet military base 'surrounded by reindeer and submarines', Halyna had recently wrapped on a project in Ireland and was tipped for a bright future in Hollywood when her life was so tragically cut short. Pictured, in 2018

Her social media profiles also paint a clear image of a free-spirited, much-loved friend, many of whom have been paying tribute. Pictured, a touching post by close friend Stephanie

Remembered by friends as a 'kind' and 'loving soul', Halyna lived in Venice Beach, California, with her husband Matthew, a lawyer, and their son Andros, known affectionately as her 'little man' and thought to be around nine years old. 

'Halyna loved him so much and enjoyed watching him grow into the handsome boy he is today,' one friend wrote in a moving Instagram tribute. 'I know she is looking after him and Matt in this horribly scary time.'

Social media photos capture a playfulness and sense of adventure, with Halloween costume parties, road trips with friends and days out exploring all lit up by Halyna's smile. 

She was also highly regarded by her peers and had been tipped as a 'rising star' by other cinematographers. 'She was somebody who was absolutely dedicated to art and integrity,' director, colleague and friend Adam Mortimer told GMB this morning. 'I can tell already she was going to be a genius.' 

Halya (right) on a visit back to Kiev in December 2018. She was raised on a military base in the country and later attended the National University of Kyiv, studying International Journalism

Baldwin, 62, was filming a scene for new film Rust when the gun went off around 1.50pm, fatally wounding Hutchins and leaving writer-director Joel Souza, 48, injured. The incident took place at Bonanza Creek Ranch.

Hutchins was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in an air ambulance but was pronounced dead a short time after. 

Souza was taken by ambulance to the Christus St Vincent Regional Medical Center. He has since been released although his exact condition is unclear.

Will Stewart, Daily Mail's Moscow correspondent, told how Halyna had worked for him in the mid-2000s. 

'This is devastating and incomprehensible news about the death of Halyna Hutchins. She worked for my news agency from Kyiv for several years in the mid-2000s after graduating from a local university in International Journalism.

'Halyna was involved in many stories for British newspapers and magazines, but she showed a special talent for documentaries, perhaps her first taste of film in which she went on to be so successful in America.

'At this time while she was with us, in 2006, she was Associate Producer on a documentary for Discovery Channel on Ukrainian icon Leonid Stadnyk called World's Tallest Man, made by British company Wild Pictures.

'She was instrumental in Mr Stadnyk feeling at ease taking part in the documentary which focused on the problems of being exceptionally tall.

'The film, made by leading British director Richard Denton, with former BBC Head of Documentaries Paul Hamann as executive producer, would not have happened without her.

'Mr Stadnyk, a shy man, trusted Halyna after refusing many other film offers, and thanked her afterwards.

'Pictures ahead of the film shows him towering over Halyna at his home in the village of Podoliantsy.

'She later went to the US with her husband Matt and accomplished great things through her huge talent and creativity but also her relentless determination to study and learn.

'She once told my Russian colleagues that she felt she was a perpetual student in America, but her efforts paid off and she achieved the success she thoroughly deserved.

'It is tragic that she died in such a cruel and inexplicable way while doing the job she so loved.

'Our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and their son, and Halyna's family in Ukraine.'

Richard Denton, the producer behind Shakespeare Uncovered and many films in the former USSR, said today: 'Halyna was the most wonderful, vital, lively and positive person to work with.

'She was friendly and enormously helpful. She handled everything from translating interviews to making Leonid's horse move in the right direction.

'She was completely unpretentious and incredibly professional.'

Her death was 'senseless and stupid.'

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