Alec Baldwin, who misfired a gun on sets of his upcoming film Rust, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins, was rehearsing with the firearm when the incident occurred, said the director who was injured as well, according to an affidavit acquired by US media publications.
In the affidavit, released by the Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office, director Joel Souza said that Baldwin was “sitting in a pew in a church building setting, and he was practicing a cross draw” with the prop gun.
Souza was looking over Hutchins’ shoulder “when he heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop,” according to the affidavit, as reported by CNN. A moment later, he saw Hutchins grab her midsection and complain about her stomach, while he realized that he was hurt in the shoulder.
Camera operator Reid Russell, who stood next to Souza and Hutchins while the incident transpired verified Souza’s statement. He recalled Hutchins “saying she couldn’t feel her legs” and medics treating her as she was bleeding on the floor, investigators said.
Both Souza and Russell acknowledged the lack of several members from the camera department that day, as some staged a walkout in relation to issues over payment and housing.
Souza also confirmed that he had heard the words “cold gun” being used on the sets of the film, and that the ammunition was declared safe before being handed over to Baldwin. According to an earlier search warrant, the film’s assistant director, David Halls had handed over the gun to Baldwin.
The affidavit said that Halls did not know that there were live rounds in the gun. However, Halls is said to have a history of not following safety precautions on earlier projects, including Hulu’s Into the Dark, and the film Freedom’s Path. He was fired from the latter project “after a crew member incurred a minor and temporary injury when a gun was unexpectedly discharged,” a producer told Variety.
The armorer of the film was identified as Hannah Gutierrez.
Post the incident, Baldwin took to Twitter and wrote that he is “shocked” and is “fully cooperating” with the investigation. “There are no words to convey my shock and sadness regarding the tragic accident that took the life of Halyna Hutchins, a wife, mother and deeply admired colleague of ours. I’m fully cooperating with the police investigation to address how this tragedy occurred and I am in touch with her husband, offering my support to him and his family. My heart is broken for her husband, their son, and all who knew and loved Halyna,” Baldwin wrote.
Meanwhile, several industry organizations, such as the Cinematographer’s Guild, paid their tributes to Hutchins.
The American Film Institute (AFI) has announced a scholarship fund for women cinematographers to commemorate Hutchins’ contributions to cinema.