Director Joel Souza was injured and cameraman Halyna Hutchins was killed last week after Alec Baldwin fired a gun on set. New details have emerged.
A tragedy shook the world on Friday morning when Alec Baldwin accidentally shot two colleagues with a prop gun while filming the movie “Rust” in New Mexico. He shot cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and director Joel Souza.
Unfortunately, the 42-year-old woman’s life could not be saved and the 48-year-old man has since been released from the hospital. New details have emerged about the circumstances of the tragic accident.
A report issued by the county sheriff on Friday revealed that gunsmith Hannah Gutierrez unloaded three prop guns onto a car outside the shooting location, and Dave Halls, the director’s first assistant, took the gun out of the car and brought it to Baldwin, who did not know it was loaded with live ammunition. Before putting the gun in his hand, he claimed it was safe to use.
Seconds later, while filming a scene in an Old West-style church, Baldwin aimed at the camera and pulled the trigger, accidentally killing Hutchins while filming and wounding Joel Souza, who was standing behind him. The fatal shot was fired from a vintage Colt revolver, The Daily Mail has learned.
So far, neither the gunsmith nor the assistant director has been charged or named as suspects in the case, and the police investigation is ongoing. The report also says that Hutchins was hit by a single bullet, which struck him in the chest and then hit Joel Souza, who was standing behind him, in the shoulder.
The investigation, however, could take several more months, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza and District Attorney Mary Carmack-Altwies said during a Wednesday news conference.
The sheriff specified that one of the three guns collected from the set was a non-functioning firearm.
Also recovered was the suspected shell casing, the sheriff said, adding that a slug was taken from director Joel Souza’s shoulder that “was apparently the same round” that killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins. Other possible live rounds from the set were also seized. The evidence will be submitted to an FBI lab for analysis, the sheriff said, also noting that there were more interviews to be conducted.
“There was a total of 500 rounds of ammunition — that is a mix of blanks, dummy rounds and what we are suspecting [are] live rounds,” Mendoza said. “[It’s] too early right now to comment on charges at this point.” Mendoza told the media that arrests will be made if warranted.
Hutchins died Oct. 21 after being injured by a gun fired by Baldwin, the Western’s star. Souza was taken to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical Center but has since been discharged.
The gun used by Baldwin, a Colt .45 revolver, had been handled by armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed and assistant director Dave Halls. It was Halls who handed the gun to Baldwin, announcing, “cold gun” — aka “not loaded” — according to a Santa Fe County Sheriff detective’s affidavit used to obtain a search warrant.
While explaining how he would draw the gun, Baldwin went through the motion, which is when the gun fired, according to the affidavit. The sheriff said Wednesday that no footage of the shooting exists.
The production, which began Oct. 6 on the Bonanza Creek Ranch near Santa Fe, has wrapped pending the investigation. A representative for “Rust” previously said the production was “not made aware of any official complaints concerning weapon or prop safety on set.” But several crewmembers have expressed to The Hollywood Reporter frustration, specifically with the film’s six producers, including Baldwin, who have limited producing experience.
“If the facts and evidence and law support charges, then I will initiate prosecution at that time,” Carmack-Altwies said Wednesday. “I do not make rash decisions and cannot rush to judgment. I cannot stress the importance of allowing the Santa Fe sheriff’s office to continue with their investigation, which is both serious and complex.”
She added, “All options are on the table at this point. I’m not commenting on charges [or] on if they will be filed or not, and [against] who. No one has been ruled out at this point”
Alec Baldwin broke the silence on Twitter and Instagram. Baldwin released a statement the morning after the shooting in which he conveyed his “shock and sadness” over the devastating situation. Baldwin said at the time he was working with authorities in their investigation and had been in contact with the Hutchins family.