While filming the film “Rust,” Alec Baldwin was reportedly practicing a move called a “cross draw” in which he pulled his weapon and pointed it at the camera when a mishap occurred and the actor shot two people, according to a new report.
According to the New York Post, two new witness accounts made public by the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office on Sunday night “describe the harrowing moment the 42-year-old director of photography was shot inside the church building on the New Mexico set of the film ‘Rust.’ Baldwin was rehearsing the gun-retrieval method from a pew of the mock church at Bonanza Creek Ranch when he aimed at the camera, while both [cinematographer Halyna] Hutchins and 48-year-old director, Joel Souza stood behind it.”
“Souza then says he heard a ‘loud pop’ and realized both him and Hutchins were bleeding, according to a police interview. The director told investigators that he remembered hearing the phrase ‘cold-gun’ while preparing for the scene, indicating the firearm wasn’t loaded and was safe for use, but he couldn’t remember if the gun, described as a ‘revolver’ in the records, had been checked after the crew returned from a lunch break before the incident happened.”
Another witness, cameraman Reid Russell, also gave new insight into the shooting. “[Russell] said while preparing, there was a shadow coming from the outside light and they had to move the camera at a different angle from Alec,” said the Post, citing a police warrant. “He said Alec 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.”
“[Russell] was not sure why the firearm was discharged and just remembered the loud bang from the firearm,” the document says.
Hutchins was apparently behind the camera Baldwin was pointing the weapon at, with Souza looking over her shoulder. She was struck in the chest and he in the shoulder. Hutchins was airlifted to a hospital but died en route. Souza was treated and has since been released from the hospital.
A union said Friday that actor Baldwin shot “a live single round.” Los Angeles union IATSE Local 44 sent an email to its members describing the Baldwin incident as “an accidental weapons discharge.”
“A live single round was accidentally fired on set by the principal actor, hitting both the Director of Photography, Local 600 member Halnya Hutchins, and Director Joel Souza,” wrote Secretary-Treasurer Anthony Pawluc, according to IndieWire.
“Local 44 has confirmed that the Props, Set Decoration, Special Effects and Construction Departments were staffed by New Mexico crew members,” the email said. “There were no Local 44 members on the call sheet.”
Baldwin last week released a statement addressing the incident. “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,” the statement said. “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.”