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‘Fanny pack’ of bullets found on Rust set by investigators: ‘Loose ammunition raises questions’

A spokesperson for the police department said the case was ‘complicated’

Maanya Sachdeva
Tuesday 26 October 2021 14:46
Sharon Waxman discusses deadly movie set shooting
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Authorities have said they recovered loose and boxed ammunition while investigating cinematographer Halyna Hutchins’s death on the set of Alec Baldwin’s film Rust.

According to an inventory of seized items that was made public on Monday (25 October), these included “two boxes of ammo”, “loose ammo and boxes”, and a “fanny pack with ammo”. Officers also found three revolvers and loose casings.

Investigating officers did not specify what kind of ammunition was recovered from the Bonanza Creek Ranch in Santa Fe, or whether it included live bullets, blank cartridges or dummies.

Even as more details around the tragedy emerge, it is still unclear what kind of projectile was fired in the incident that occurred on 21 October when Baldwin accidentally misfired a prop gun that fatally wounded Hutchins. The 42-year-old director of photography was rushed to the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, where she was pronounced dead.

In an interview with The New York Times, a Los Angeles-based professional armourer said the fact that loose ammunition and casings were found on set “raises questions” about the organisation of the film’s armoury department. Typically, he explained, ammunition is kept in a clearly labelled box.

Director Joel Souza, 48, was also injured in the shooting. He was later discharged.

A spokesperson for the Santa Fe Sheriff’s Department said: “This is a complicated case.”

An affidavit filed by the department on Sunday (24 October) provided the clearest picture of the events that led up to the misfiring and, ultimately, Hutchins’s death.

Alec Baldwin on the set of Rust

It included statements from Souza and Rust camera operator Reid Russell, who was working when the incident occurred.

Souza said that, to his knowledge, three people were handling the firearms on set — the armourer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed, assistant director Dave Halls, and Baldwin. Typically, a gun was supposed to go through two rounds of checks, by Gutierrez-Reed and Halls, before being handed to the actor.

He also said he heard the firearms safety announcement “cold gun”— indicating the gun was safe for use — being issued by Halls before it was handed to Baldwin.

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The 63-year-old was sitting in a pew in a wooden church setting and practicing how he would draw the weapon that was pointed towards the camera lens at the time. Hutchins and Souza were checking the camera angle when Baldwin accidentally discharged the gun.

Souza recalled that he saw Hutchins stumble and clutch her midriff, while Russell remembered Halyna saying she couldn’t feel her legs.

Since the shooting, it has emerged that Halls was fired from a 2019 indie film over a gun mishap. The assistant director has previously worked on movies like Fargo and The Matrix Reloaded.

In a statement to CNN, Rocket Soul, the production company, confirmed that Halls was removed from the set of Freedom’s Path after a crew member sustained minor injuries from a prop gun.

Neither Halls nor Gutierrez-Reed have commented on the Rust shooting yet.

On Friday, Baldwin tweeted: “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.”

Hutchins is survived by her husband and nine-year-old son.

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