Alec Baldwin Shooting: What Detectives Found at the Movie Set3 min read
Detectives found three revolvers, spent casings and ammunition — in boxes, loose and in a fanny pack — when they searched the New Mexico film set where the actor Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer last week with a gun he had been told did not contain any live rounds, according to an inventory of the items seized that was released on Monday.
The new details emerged four days after Mr. Baldwin shot the cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins, while rehearsing a scene in which he draws a revolver from his holster and points it at the camera, according to an affidavit used to obtain the warrant to search the set. The inventory, filed in Santa Fe County Magistrate Court, did not specify what kind of ammunition was seized, and whether it included regular bullets, blank cartridges or dummies.
Taken together, the guns, ammunition and blood from the scene where the movie “Rust” was being filmed did not answer the central question of how Ms. Hutchins was killed with a gun that was not supposed to contain live ammunition.
Mike Tristano, a veteran professional armorer based in Los Angeles, said the inventory was vague and gave scant information about the type of guns or bullets found. But he did point to the reference to loose ammunition and spent casings as unusual. Typically, ammunition would be kept in a clearly labeled box, he said. “The fact that there is loose ammunition and casings raises questions about the organization of the armory department,” he said.
According to an interview with the movie’s director, Joel Souza, used in an affidavit released on Sunday by the Santa Fe County sheriff’s department, Mr. Baldwin had been sitting in a wooden pew in a set depicting a church, explaining how he would draw the gun, when it suddenly discharged. Mr. Souza told a detective that he remembered Ms. Hutchins grabbing her midsection and starting to stumble backward before noticing that he was bleeding from his shoulder.
Reid Russell, a cameraman who was present at the scene, told a detective he remembered Ms. Hutchins saying that she “couldn’t feel her legs.”
The details, from Detective Joel Cano, provide a chilling account of the fatal shooting on a production set that had been beset by accidental gun discharges and labor disputes between producers and crew members.
What Happened on the Set of “Rust”
The exact safety protocol that played out before the shooting on Thursday remained unclear. Mr. Souza said in the affidavit that typically, firearms had been checked by the movie’s armorer, Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, then the first assistant director, Dave Halls, before Mr. Halls would hand the weapons to actors. Before the shooting, the affidavit said, Mr. Halls had grabbed the revolver from a cart outside the building that had been prepared by Ms. Gutierrez-Reed — on which three guns sat — and declared it to be a “cold gun,” which on a film set usually refers to an unloaded firearm.
Although the inventory did not stipulate what kind of ammunition was recovered, live bullets are generally forbidden on film sets.
Mr. Halls, an industry veteran who worked on films including “Fargo” and “The Matrix Reloaded,” has been the subject of complaints about safety on previous productions. On Monday, a production company, Rocket Soul Studios, said in a statement that Mr. Halls had been fired from the set of a movie, “Freedom’s Path” in 2019 after a gun unexpectedly discharged, causing a minor injury to a crew member. The statement was reported earlier by CNN.
“Halls was removed from set immediately after the prop gun discharged,” the statement said. Mr. Halls did not immediately respond to a request for comment on that situation.
Mr. Souza said the filming of the scene inside the church that day had been interrupted by a lunch break for the production. Neither Mr. Souza nor Mr. Russell knew whether the revolver had been inspected after the crew returned from the lunch break, according to the affidavit.
The sheriff’s office and the Santa Fe district attorney’s office are planning to hold a news conference on Wednesday to discuss the investigation.