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Alec Baldwin shooting: Rust director says he saw Halyna Hutchins ‘grab midsection and stumble backwards’

The film’s cameraman also said he heard Hutchins ‘say she couldn’t feel her legs’

Ellie Harrison
Monday 25 October 2021 09:44
Vigil planned in Burbank for cinematographer Halyna Hutchins

The director of Rust, Joel Souza, has recalled the exact moment he saw Alec Baldwin fatally shoot the film’s cinematographer, Halyna Hutchins.

Last week, Hutchins, 42, was killed on the set of the western film after Baldwin fired a prop gun. The actor described the killing as a “tragic accident” and is working with police in their investigation.

New details have emerged from the case in an affidavit released on Sunday night (24 October), seen by The New York Times.

According to the publication, Souza said that Baldwin was rehearsing a scene that involved pointing a gun “towards the camera lens” when the firearm, which he had been told did not contain live rounds, suddenly went off.

Souza, who was wounded in the incident, described hearing what “sounded like a whip and then loud pop”.

He told investigators that he had believed that the gun was safe and that it had been described as a “cold gun” in firearm safety announcements.

Baldwin shortly after the incident

He said that last Thursday (21 October), after preparing for the scene in a set of a church, there was a lunch break, and the crew was taken by shuttle elsewhere to eat. He said they returned to the set after the meal but that he was “not sure if the firearm was checked again”.

In the fullest account yet of the fatal shooting, he explained that Baldwin had been sitting in a wooden church pew, rehearsing a scene that involved “cross drawing” a gun and pointing it at the camera lens. Souza said he had been standing behind Hutchins and was “viewing the camera angle”.

Souza said he saw Hutchins grabbing her midsection and starting to stumble backwards, before noticing he was bleeding from his shoulder. Hutchins had sustained a gunshot wound to the chest area. The incident was not filmed.

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Asked about “the employees’ behaviour”, Souza told investigators that “everyone was getting along” and that there had been “no altercations” to his knowledge. However, six members of the camera crew had just quit over late pay and safety conditions.

Cameraman Reid Russell, who was standing near Hutchins and Souza when the gun went off, said that he “remembered Joel having blood on his person, and Ms Hutchins speaking and saying she couldn’t feel her legs”.

Follow the latest updates on the incident in our live blog here.

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