An assistant director yelled “cold gun” as he handed a prop weapon to Alec Baldwin, which the actor fired, killing cinematographer Halyna Hutchins and injuring director Joel Souza.
CNN reported that court documents show assistant director David Halls yelled “cold gun” to indicate that the prop weapon did not contain live rounds. Halls handed Baldwin one of three prop guns that had been set up by an armorer, unaware that the prop gun contained a live round, according to an affidavit for a search warrant obtained by KOAT.
Bryan Carpenter, an armorer and weapons master in the film industry, told CNN that “cold guns” shouldn’t be loaded, especially during rehearsals.
“You have to make sure that the weapon is truly cold, which means there should have been no rounds in there, period. And especially if it’s a rehearsal,” Carpenter told the outlet.
Carpenter also insisted that prop guns should be inspected by two people to ensure they’re “cold” before anyone handles them on set.
Insider reported that the head armorer on the set, 24-year-old Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, had said a month ago that she wasn’t sure if she was “ready” to take the job on “Rust.”
“It was also my first time being head armorer as well,” Gutierrez-Reed said, according to the outlet. “I almost didn’t take the job because I wasn’t sure if I was ready, but, doing it, like, it went really smoothly.”
The tragedy occurred on Thursday in Santa Fe, New Mexico, when Baldwin was rehearsing a scene for the upcoming film “Rust.” He fired the fake gun, thinking it wasn’t loaded, and ended up shooting Hutchins in the chest and injuring Souza. The Daily Wire reported Friday on an eyewitness description of the shooting:
A person who allegedly witnessed the fatal incident has since come forward to detail what happened. According to the witness, it was one bullet, potentially real ammunition, that discharged from the gun during the accident.
“[T]he bullet went straight through the body of DP Halyna Hutchins and into the clavicle of the film’s director Joel Souza,” said a report from Showbiz411. “Very quickly the set was locked down. Ambulance and helicopters arrived. Hutchins and Souza were sent straight to the hospital. Hutchins died en route in a helicopter.”
Baldwin was apparently on the ground, “in shock but composed.”
The witness said the 63-year-old actor repeatedly asked why he was given a “hot gun.” As noted by the outlet, a “hot gun” is a gun with real ammunition.
Additional reporting found that the film crew had previously complained about unsafe working conditions and pointed to multiple misfires of prop guns prior to the accident on Thursday. Just hours before the fatal incident, union camera crew workers walked off the set in protest. The union members aid that a prop gun had misfired several times during shooting, citing a “serious lack of safety meetings on this set.”
Following the tragedy, Baldwin released a statement saying his “heart is broken” and that he is working with authorities.
“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 said on Twitter. Baldwin deactivated his personal Twitter account, so the statement was sent from the account of his nonprofit, the Hilaria and Alec Baldwin Foundation.
The Santa Fe Sheriff’s Office also released a statement regarding the incident:
Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set of the western “Rust,” October 21, 2021, when an 911 caller reported a shooting on the set.
The sheriff’s office confirms that two individuals were shot on the set of Rust. Halyna Hutchins, 42, director of photography and Joel Souza, 48, director, were shot when a prop firearm was discharged by Alec Baldwin, , producer and actor.
Ms. Hutchins was transported, via helicopter, to University of New Mexico Hospital where she was pronounced dead by medical personnel. Mr. Souza was transported by ambulance to Christus St. Vincent Regional Medical center where he is undergoing treatment for his injuries.
This investigation remains open and active. No charges have been filed in regard to this incident. Witnesses continue to be interviewed by detectives.