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Alec Baldwin is insisting he “didn’t pull the trigger” when a prop gun in his hand discharged and killed cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of the film “Rust.”
“I would never point a gun at anyone and pull the trigger at them, never,” Baldwin said to George Stephanopoulos, speaking publicly about the deadly shooting for the first time in an ABC News special “Alec Baldwin Unscripted” airing Thursday night.
Baldwin—who at times broke down in tears during the raw interview—called Hutchins’ death on the set the worst thing that has ever happened to him.
“Because I think back and I think what could I have done,” he told Stephanopoulos.
Hutchins was killed Oct. 21 on the New Mexico set of the western film when Baldwin, who was both an actor and producer on the film, drew an antique revolver from his holster and pointed it at the camera during a rehearsal.
The weapon fired what authorities have described as a “live round” striking Hutchins in the chest and lodging into the shoulder of director Joel Souza.
While Souza survived, Hutchins, a 42-year-old mother, died from the gunshot wound.
While Baldwin said he never pulled the gun’s trigger, Santa Fe County Sheriff Adan Mendoza seemingly questioned that account.
“Guns don’t just go off,” he told Fox News. “So whatever needs to happen to manipulate the firearm, he did that and it was in his hands.”
Bryan W. Carpenter, a weapons armorer, also told the news outlet that he believed it would be “rare” for that type of revolver to fire if the trigger wasn’t pulled and said that to fire the gun, the hammer would have had to be “completely cocked back.”
“So, that’s very important because that gun had to have two-step process to fire,” he said. “It had to be cocked and the trigger pulled to fire.”
Once the gun is cocked, however, Carpenter said it “doesn’t take a lot to set that trigger off.”
The Santa Fe County Sheriff’s Office is now trying to determine how a live round got into the .45 Colt revolver. Authorities received a search warrant Tuesday to seize ammunition and other potential evidence from the film’s ammo supplier, PDQ Arm & Prop.
Baldwin told ABC News he has “no idea” how the bullet got into the gun.
“Someone put a live bullet in a gun, a bullet that wasn’t even supposed to be on the property,” he said.
Investigators believe that ammunition for the film was provided by three sources: PDQ Arm & Prop, an individual identified in the search warrant only as “Billy Ray” and the film’s armorer Hannah Gutierrez Reed, who brought some of the ammunition from a previous production, according to the search warrant obtained by Oxygen.com.
On the day of the shooting, Gutierrez Reed has told investigators that she placed “dummy rounds” into the gun.
However, prop master Sarah Zachery told authorities that after the shooting, she compared the round that came from the gun to others in a box of ammo and suspected the box must have contained a mix of dummy rounds and live rounds.
It's still not clear how those live rounds got onto the set or into the gun.
Baldwin remains haunted by the fatal shooting and described his slain coworker as someone “who was loved by everyone.”
“She was someone who was loved by everyone who worked with [her] and liked by everyone who worked with [her], and admired,” he told ABC News. “I mean, even now I find it hard to believe that [she’s gone]. It doesn’t seem real to me.”
To catch more of the interview, tune in Thursday night at 8 p.m. ET on ABC or Hulu later that night.
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