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Alec Baldwin Had Been Practicing His Draw With What He Was Told Was A ‘Cold Gun’ When Fatal Shooting Occurred On Set

Director Joel Souza told investigators that although there "should never be live rounds whatsoever" near the gun, he wasn't sure whether it had been checked again after a break for lunch.

By Jill Sederstrom
Alec Baldwin Fires Prop Gun On Set, Killing One

Alec Baldwin was practicing a “cross draw” with what he had been told was a “cold gun” when the firearm went off, fatally striking cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in the chest on the film set of “Rust,” authorities say.

Director Joel Souza—who had been standing next to Hutchins to view the camera angle as they tried to set up the shot—was also struck in the shoulder, but survived, according to a search warrant in the case obtained by Oxygen.com.

Santa Fe County Sheriff’s deputies were called to the Bonanza Creek Ranch movie set Thursday around 1:50 p.m. after receiving a 911 call about a “gunshot trauma” involving a prop gun on the set.

Souza later told investigators that Baldwin had been rehearsing a “cross draw,” where he took the prop gun out and pointed it at the camera, inside a church building when he “heard what sounded like a whip and then loud pop” and realized he was bleeding.

“Joel then vaguely remembers Halayna (sic) complaining about her stomach and grabbing her midsection,” authorities wrote in the warrant. “Joel said that Halayna (sic) began to stumble backwards and was assisted to the ground.”

Hutchins was airlifted to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead.

Halyna Hutchins G

Before the fatal shooting, assistant director Dave Halls had grabbed one of three “prop guns” sitting on a cart outside the church building that had been prepared by the film’s armorer and gave the weapon to Baldwin. Halls allegedly yelled “cold gun,” indicating that the weapon did not contain live rounds when the hand-off was made.

According to the warrant, Halls “did not know live rounds were in the prop gun.”

Souza told investigators that the firearms are checked by the armorer and Halls before they are given to an actor and that “there should never be live rounds whatsoever, near or around the scene.”

He was not sure, however, whether the prop gun was checked again after they came back from a lunch break shortly before the shooting.

Cameraman Reid Russel told authorities that the day started off late because about six crew members had walked off the set because “they were having issues with production involving housing and payment,” according to the warrant.

After the walkout, the filmmakers were left with only one camera and had been trying to figure out how they wanted to set up the shot when the shooting occurred.

Russel—who had also been in the building at the time—told authorities that Baldwin “was trying to explain how he was going to draw out the firearm and where his arm would be” when the gun went off.

“Reid was not sure why the firearm was discharged and just remembered the loud bang from the firearm,” investigators wrote.

Russel told investigators that he recalled Hutchins said “she couldn’t feel her legs” after she'd been shot.

When describing the environment on set before the shooting, Russel said “everyone seemed to be getting along” among the cast and crew.

Russel also told investigators that Baldwin had been “very careful” with the firearms in the past and had even made sure it was safe and that a child on set wasn’t near him when they filmed another scene of the movie.

After the fatal shooting, Baldwin changed out of his western costume and went with investigators to the sheriff’s office to talk about what happened.

“Mr. Baldwin was interviewed by investigators yesterday,” Juan R. Rios, a spokesman for the sheriff’s office, told Oxygen.com on Friday. “Once he completed his interview he left the building.

In a statement on social media the day after the shooting, Baldwin said he was shocked by what he referred to as a “tragic accident.”

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,” he wrote. “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.

A source close to the actor told People he was “inconsolable for hours” after the shooting and is “canceling other projects” in light of the tragedy.

Hutchins’ husband, Matthew Hutchins, paid tribute to his late wife in an Instagram post over the weekend, sharing a photo of the couple along with their son.

“We miss you, Halyna!” he wrote.

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